Tag Archive: hospital


What up peeps? It’s been a while. Tons has gone on my end, as I’m sure on yours. I stopped in today to take a peek at some of my favorite blogs, but also to comment on something I have been thinking of for the past few weeks: Physical illness and PTSD symptoms.

My body is currently boycotting health. I have been sick for three weeks. To be honest, I would not be exaggerating at all to say that I feel like my teensy lil body’s been hit by a mack truck. I have often in the past few weeks reflected on the plight of my future patients who are chronically ill. Clearly, I am in several ways chronically ill, however this is a new experience. I have had back problems, surgeries, pain, etc. since I was 2. I had a super-shitty immune system. I get sick when someone who’s ten miles away sneezes. My nebulizer is my best friend (sorry to my human best friends… but open my airways and we’ll talk). 😉

Obviously, my PTSD is also something that is a chronic issue for me. But, I seem to be hacking it (oy! no pun intended) pretty well with that and with the damned my-body-thinks-it’s-88-not-28 pain. I have not been using narcotic painkillers to drown out the pain. I have not been dissociating (with any real frequency ;})… I have been FEELING it.

Ew!

As I said last time, I am not a fan of feelings. I still thoroughly stand by that. At the time I was talking about emotional pain for the most part, not visceral. But, I can say, this is not my cup of tea either. I used to crave pain of any sort because at least I knew I was in fact alive (that is NOT why I self-harmed, I think my self-harm was mostly motivated by my desire to drown out my emotional pain with physical). But, right now I’d really like to just LIVE.

I have been holed up in my house for a few weeks, and at some point gave up on the pretty much bedrest crap that was going on because I wasn’t getting any better two rounds of prednisone, antibiotics, and a partridge in a pear tree later. So, I decided, screw that—I’m not going to overdo it per say, but I’m not going to lie in bed. Bed sores are not something else I want to add to my shit list. I’ve had friends visit (which has been freaking AWESOME! Yay & thanks!), gone out a bit to do things I really want to, and I’ve enjoyed myself. But, I’ve noticed something the past few weeks, particularly as my physical symptoms have exacerbated…. so have my PTSD (and its friends) symptoms.

I have found over the past decade or two, that when I’m physically ill, my mental health takes a major nose dive. The only thing I can relate this to is the fact that when I’m physically ill, it doesn’t matter if I ignore that I feel alone, or am alone, or have to talk myself out of the fact that I’m not a little, helpless girl that no one is going to take care of (again)~I feel alone. And therefore I have to consciously or unconsciously remind myself that I’m an adult and I will take care of me with appropriate help.

Being sick leaves me feeling very very small and very much alone. I become a lot more symptomatic, feel a lot more anxiety, feel desperate, and am a lot more attention seeking. I often wonder if other people with PTSD or other mental health issues feel like those things turn up a notch when they are not feeling physically well?

Since I’m both feeling physically unwell & experiencing a lil mental health kick in the ass, I, though not depressed (there really is always another side to the rainbow), I feel really professionally unmotivated. I can read my Pathology book for fun at 7am, but not reach over for the material I’m actually supposed to be reviewing. This has been REALLY frustrating to me since things have really started to look up with my academics the past few months. I was sick (and around the time of my second to last final was flashbacking EVERYWHERE in a way I hadn’t since I was raped last summer) and still trying to keep other aspects of my life in balance, but my grades were stellar. I wanted to keep that motivation going at full speed. But, I think I misplaced it somewhere. I’ve searched high and low, and I cannot find it. I have an ugly feeling this is a fake it til you make it moment–and I hate those.

I have a lot more to say, but I will save it for later (hopefully not like 2-3 months later)… I really want to talk about hoarding, cleansing (of excess tangible baggage from hoarding), flashback reapperance, rape recovery, and keeping it chill during potentially triggering patient care. I look forward to being back soon and I hope you have all been well! Wishing you peace, safety, and some sunshine especially for those cloudier of days.

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Ferocity In Me

~I am grateful for my ferocity.

I feel as though I am finding a glimmer of my former self (;} remove all ideas about dissociation from that statement). I am a feisty, persistent, tough cookie. I am doing great! I hit a low point a couple of times a week, but I’ve never felt this good. Nor have that many other acquaintances, friends, and people closest to my heart noticed quite like this before. I’m living my life. It’s actually a little odd and uncomfortable. But, hey, I’ll take it. This is the first time I’ve ever been remotely interested in my studies. I can take care of my adult responsibilities. I can make it through the day without falling apart. I would do a cartwheel and little dance, but I must admit that I fear nothing gold can stay…

I also believe I have to step up in a major way if I want any repercussions for the assailant who assaulted me during the first week of school. I certainly live with repercussions each and every day. If you make such an egregious error in boundaries, violating a person’s rights, etc.–you should experience consequences. I will not stop until that happens. I don’t care what other people think of me, or what occurs as a result. It can “always get worse”, but I’m presently the pariah at my med school to some, the situation has interfered with my academics, personal life, relationships, healing process.. I could go on and on. Some people have awful things to say to me (go on brush ya shoulders off), about me, behind my back, some people don’t know what to make of it, and one person told me it happened to her in college and she didn’t have the courage to report it then and is amazed that I’m still standing and grateful to know me. I’m good with all of that. And the fact that one woman told me she feels empowered by me standing up for myself is extremely moving. Everyone seems to have an opinion, everyone supposedly knows—and I don’t care. No matter how uncomfortable it is for me and my squeaky lil mouse self I will continue to stand up and keep elucidating it is NOT OK and I won’t let anyone sweep this under the carpet.

Continuing on what I am thankful for…

~I am grateful for my incredible friends.

~I am grateful that my roommates and I were able to come to a relative agreement and expect that our communication will make living together even better.

~I am grateful for all the therapy that I have underwent, and all the work I did on my own, because my roommate who is getting her Ph.D. in social work told me the other night that she felt like our conversation included an MFT (marriage and family therapist–me lol). She is very logical and not particularly warm and fuzzy–but she told me I was effective, well-spoken, practical, solution-focused, & amusing (considering her profession and mine) and that I’m going to make an amazing doctor.

~I am grateful for the hours/days/weeks where I feel well.

~I am grateful that the times that I feel crappy are continually and slowly decreasing.

~I am grateful for the other survivors I know both “in real life” and those whom I have connected with on here and other venues.

~I am grateful for sleep.

~I am grateful that even though I’ve been dealing with some physical health crap that I’m still ambulatory and keep it moving.

~I am grateful for my own personal healthcare needs being mostly met.

~I am grateful for the current time, which is the longest I have gone sans an ip stay in two and a half years.

~I am grateful that tomorrow is a trauma anniversary and I’m feeling relatively strong.

~I am grateful that I FEEL OK.

Hope you all are well and are on your path to healing, no matter how bumpy, winding, and/or smooth that road may be. ❤

Love and peace,

Joy

I’m not sure if I’ve shared with you the concept I learned about two years ago; that getting better doesn’t necessarily mean feeling better. Either way, while I’d love to comment on that and will elaborate at some point, I have found that sometimes it actually does lead to feeling better. I’ve been able to feel a lot more feelings in a healthy way, some lovely feelings, some less than pleasant. I am grateful for this hellish journey. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to survive just life, in general, if I hadn’t been on the PTSD recovery war path for the past two years. Every time I think I’ve got something down, got things in a decent place (notice I didn’t say “under control”–the only thing I can control in life is my behavior and actions); a huge curveball is thrown at me. I think this happens to everyone. But, when I’m working so hard to get “better”, whatever that is for me (mostly coping [and NOW learning how to actually contain flashbacks until I can have them in the safe environment of my tx’ists office] safely, not further abusing myself physically, emotionally, etc., and maintaining a somewhat normal-ish adult life)… I don’t take the curveballs very well. At least not the huge one that hit me at 90 mph yesterday.

Yesterday I went to two meetings in NYC. The first was a DID meeting, which was fabulous. I then spent the day with my best friend until my next meeting. Even better! And then, upon the THIRD parking spot, all chaos descends. I return from celebrating my 90 days self-harm free (no keychain lol—some of you know how ardently I want a keychain for my 90 days lol), to find my car is not where I parked it. I wonder, okay, before I panic, let’s search the dissociative rolodex and make sure I didn’t park it elsewhere. I end up having to call 911 to find out if my car has been stolen or towed (the latter I believe the more likely suspect, even though I was parked legally). Apparently during a random plate check, the NYPD decided that I owed $624 in parking tickets from 2007 (um what?) and it would need to be paid Monday through Friday during typical business hours before I could even pay the $185 to have my car returned from the tow service. Now mind you, of course my albuterol nebulizer for my asthma, my computer, and everything under the sun is in my car. My phone is dying, no one is picking up their phone. I NEEDED to get my car, or I was literally going to die. I was in the hospital for my asthma last week and am still not doing well.

Wheezing, and hacking I call the tow service (open 24 hrs!) 4 times to no avail as I am walking halfway across the City to get to my car. I get there and am permitted into my car. Then, I’m told that according to their system my license and registration are suspended and expired (which is not true, I know because of an incident from very recently). Unfortunately I can’t verify this on a Saturday night, or fix any of it. The tow guy was going to let me have my car provided there were no complications, likely because I was polite and/or he felt so badly for me because it was very evident that I was incredibly sick. Of course, there were complications… so I plug in my nebulizer so I can breathe while an angel in my life does come to my aid. She drove me home, since there was nothing I could do at that point. I got sick in her car right by my parents’ house, on our way to my house. I threw up in front of my parents’ house three times more 😉 and then knocked on the door so I could use the restroom. Then we proceeded home.

I woke up this morning with horrific self-harm urges and felt terribly depressed and hopeless because I really didn’t see how I could think or pray myself out of this debacle. I managed to calm myself down to a safe point, and then not long after totally lost it again. Now, since I’m so allergic to everything that is outside, I couldn’t lock myself out until my urges were manageable, nor could I flee in my car (um, since it’s impounded at the moment). So I flipped out for a little bit trying to figure out how to keep myself safe. I decided to lock myself in my room, perhaps lock my utensil drawer on my porch. I figured maybe some more sleep would do me some good, and decided maybe I’ll take a Benadryl to help with the allergies and help knock me out. Sadly and luckily, I ended up crying myself to sleep, and was therefore stable enough to leave my room when I woke up a little bit ago. I’m not saying things are great right now. I don’t have fairy godmothers, or a magic wand–but I’m still here and I’m SAFE! It’s day 91 and I’m still self-harm free. Some days it doesn’t seem I am going to be able to make it 9 seconds, and yet by the grace of God, or who/whatever you believe in… I’m still safe. There’s tangible evidence right there, I am getting better. And, yes, I’m pretty sick at the moment, and am having a hell of a time, but I’m feeling pretty ok considering. I had two great friends tell me some really wise and beautiful things earlier today, and it was really hard to hear considering the place I was in. But, I am so grateful for them. And for my rescuing angel. The situations still is pretty sucky, and I haven’t gotten it all figured out, but: Everything is gonna be alright. I leave you with this:

“When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back, relax, and let the whole world wonder how the hell you did it.” -Who knows

Three Little Birds -Bob Marley
‘”Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.
Singin’: “Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!”

Rise up this mornin’,
Smiled with the risin’ sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin’ sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin’, (“This is my message to you-ou-ou:”)

Singin’: “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right.”
Singin’: “Don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right!…”‘

Wishing you a peaceful, safe, and beautiful day,

Joy

**Although I’m pretty sure this is a pretty non-triggering post, it does mention trauma, parts, flashbacks and eating issues. So if you are particularly sensitive at this time, please do not read this until you are safe and supported enough to. Ty.**

Upon returning from my Mom’s a few weeks ago (no NEW triggers there, same old, dealt w them well, etc.)… I seem to have fallen off my recovery path a bit, or maybe found a new direction. I’m not sure. All I know is that since I’ve come home, I’ve gone to my psychiatric rehabilitation program increasingly as the two weeks have gone by, gone to every DBT session, and stayed s/h free. It has not been easy. Outside of PTSD stuff, there’s been a LOT going on for me in my personal life, be they interpersonal problems, financial difficulties, pending homelessness, and eating issues.

I have made a lot of mistakes the past few weeks, but nothing too detrimental. I may have said the wrong thing, even though I meant it to be so gentle, yet not so subtle that someone didn’t get the boundaries I asserted, I may have shared too much or too little at times… but, I am doing my best. I have also embarked on a little bit of late teenager silliness… and then the following does not include any mistakes I’ve made: but I’ve let my parts play. It’s been phenomenal for all of us, including me, as the host. However, what I’ve come to know for myself is, as I’ve learned how to better communicate w my internal system, and become more stable… now the traumatized parts are coming out more. And if I’m not going to care for them, they’ll be in the same boat they were when they fragmented off. So, I choose to be a good parts mom & nurture, love them, and keep them safe. I don’t have a DID nor a trauma therapist. I am essentially winging it, and doing what I know works in other situations, other safe skills, and I am riding the wave and seeing it through to the end of the pain. I am also consulting w two trauma tx’ists soon bc this is becoming much too much for me to manage on my own. I know when to reach out for help. And I’m pleased that my clinician at my program, though she is a very emotionally boundaried person, and truly barely knows me–knows that I REACH out (even from the pits in the past) when I need more help than what I can currently do by myself and with my current supports.

I also called Renfrew yesterday bc the not-eating thing was not something I was managing well. I have no idea why this is going on. I am a little chubby, but I am a curvy, cute lil thing according to most–so I am a teensy weensy bit insecure. And some of my more protective parts have eating issues (namely 15, she was ballsy and would eat in the middle of the night, not caring if she got caught bc we needed nourishment), but nothing like this. And it’s not just lack of appetite. I refuse to eat. I will eat socially. And not in a disordered manner w lots of rules, but I can only will myself to eat socially. I am a very strong-willed individual. I figured going to the supermarket and getting Carnation Instant Breakfasts, baby food in flavors I’d consider, and other similar things I could will myself to consume those. But, I couldn’t. All week. So I called Renfrew. But, I have decided, I don’t want to go back to the hospital. I WILL manage this on my own. And if it does become so incredibly unmanageable, I will go. But–I am willing to work my tush off so I don’t have to go back inpatient for any reason right now. I am safe, I am not suicidal, I am dealing w my symptoms as best as I can. And that’s THAT.

So that’s where I’ve been hiding these last two weeks. I even let my fb games peter off. I have been working on me. And experiencing the absolute joy and serenity, when I’ve gotten through the pain. It’s so oxymoronic. It has been such an ugly and yet beautiful, self-actualization, phenomenal time for me. And if you have any suggestions on the nurturing and keeping the traumatized, little (and sometimes a little older) ones safe and protected, please by ALL means share. I would be forever indebted to you bc I have no idea what I’m doing. I hope you are all doing well. ❤

Wishing you peace, safety, and serenity,

Joy

Today is Self Injury Awareness Day. Therefore, I’m using today as an impetus to share with you my own experience with self-injury (aka self-harm=s/h). Please do not read this if it will trigger you. Also, I want to make it explicitly clear that I do not condone self-harm as a coping skill, however do not judge myself or others for resorting to it when we feel as though nothing else will assuage our pain (or whatever other things trigger an urge to self-harm).

My first incident of s/h was when I was 7. I had no idea why I was doing what I was doing. All I recall is that I explained (and lied) to my step-mother and told her I was trying to shave just like she did. Needless to say, when it did come time to shave in my early adolescence I was not permitted to do so. I have no idea why. Especially since I was apparently very convincing when I told her it wasn’t on purpose.

I then began sneaking hard liquor (and refilling what I had consumed in the most brilliant way an elementary-aged child could) from the liquor cabinet until my parents gave up drinking quite as much. Then, since their liquor required less space, they relocated it to a cabinet that was well out of my reach (then and almost now).

As I look back on these experiences I can recognize that they were ways for me to drown out something, what? At the time I had NO idea.

I achieved my first degree black belt when I was 16. I used these skills to s/h in a way that I was pretty sure no one would know about and no one would question. I continued this from middle school through college. I was in an incredible amount of emotional pain; that I couldn’t get rid of. All I knew is that my parents didn’t love me and it made me feel like my heart was slowly dying. Nothing I did won their approval. No amount of good deeds at home, the meticulous attention to my chores (which included EVERYTHING while my brother, of course, had none), my excellent grades, my involvement in the community in various ways… nothing. So my Catholic school girl self abused herself in the only way I knew how without getting caught. I had such enormous pain, and severely repressed anger, hostility, shame; I could go all day with what I had stuffed in my “little box”. I was a breakdown waiting to happen. I believed I had to be perfect in every aspect of my life, stuff all the pain away, and put on my (apparently slightly scary) fake-smile.

The year before I started medical school I had an extremely abusive relationship with my first girlfriend. I had previously been treated like gold by my boyfriend of 5 years. We had some major PTSD-related issues in our relationship now that I can look at it in hindsight, but he was the least abusive partner I’ve dated.

I slowly descended into madness during and after this relationship. I ended it, I simply couldn’t take the tumultuousness of our relationship anymore–I knew I was about to snap. And I did. But, I apparently was still able to put on a fascade that I was “just fine”. I did well in medical school while the symptoms of complex-PTSD continued to ravage my life. I was finally diagnosed with C-PTSD in medical school after a litany of misdiagnoses. I continued in the s/h behaviors I had long used, and introduced more. These new ones I was terrified by, these new ones had to be so minor that no one could see them or “everyone would know”. Que dira de la gente… what will people say? That was my only concern and the only reason why I kept my s/h superficial.

I took three weeks after the summer of my first year to seek out trauma-specific treatment. Every summer since I was a sophomore in college I had spent doing research to bolster my resume. I took a little bit of time from this for my treatment. I figured three weeks was plenty of time to figure out what the hell was really wrong and how to quickly fix it. I was adept at most everything else I did, therefore I approached intensive trauma tx with the same tenacity.

Apparently, my PTSD didn’t give a crap about my timeframe. Beginning trauma tx was like ripping off a bandaid on my fullbodied wound. My flashbacks got worse, my s/h urges became totally unmanageable. I tried using some of the skills I had learned and they were ineffective. I resorted to the only thing I knew would help alleviate some of my pain.

I used to (and still do) restrict access to certain rooms in my apartment in order to avoid s/h and to see if I could tolerate the pain until it ended. Sometimes, some days I was successful. Others I was not. Going to the ER with a self-inflicted wound got me nowhere. I did a good enough job tending to my wound that it was not necessary for the ER to intervene medically. And since I was no longer suicidal, my psychiatrist who happened to be on call that night, told me to “step up the individual tx and step up the DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy)”; and I was sent home. That was the first time I had actually scared myself by what I had done to my body.

After almost two years of therapy programs, I have come to realize that I no longer need to physically abuse myself. However, that did not stop my s/h. I would do it in the same place so that no one would question it should they see. I was in so much pain that I couldn’t rock my skills which I knew and practiced like it was my job. As I explained to my mother yesterday, the pain of my flashbacks or other PTSD-related pain is about a million times worse than any physical pain I’ve ever had. The other day she saw me, and I was barely able to walk because of undiagnosed rheumatological problems (I have been to the doctor several times to try to pin down why one day I can run a mile and others I have to army crawl to the bathroom).

I have used s/h when I saw no other options to reduce my pain/suicidality, or when after going through the most effective coping skills (for me), several times, I was still in intolerable pain. I am in no way glorifying my s/h behaviors, but as I said before, nor do I judge them. It was all I had at times when I was emotionally grasping at straws and knew that I didn’t want to permanently terminate my existence (even if it hurt so bad that I obsessed about it). Everyone who s/h’s does it for their own personal reason. This was mine.

I have not purposely taken any action against my body in 50 days as of today. It has not been easy or pretty as I have said several times elsewhere today. Am I proud? Yes. Has it been hell not resorting to self-abusive behaviors? Absolutely. I will gladly share some of my favorite coping skills in the next few days. But for today, I wanted to share a part of my journey to recovering from child abuse. And I also want a keychain, coin, or gold star to recognize my efforts to end my addiction to s/h. 😉 I cannot for certain say I will be able to continue to abstain from s/h as I continue in my recovery. But, I never thought I’d be able to abstain for a significant amount of time any time in the near future, and the 50 day mark is a pretty damned promising start.

Wishing you peace and safety this evening,

Joy

Plate SMASHING

Hi everyone! I hope you are doing well. When I last wrote, I had been out of the hospital for a few weeks and had been doing extremely well. I am happy to say I am still doing just as well! I will update you on how I’ve made my life a little bit better place for me to live these past few months later on today.

However, I want to comment on a great idea that a twitter friend had mentioned yesterday; PLATE SMASHING. She shared an article by a fellow survivor about how therapeutic this had/has been in her recovery.

I had watched “Starting Over”, a tv show that follows the journey of women struggling with their lives for a plethora of reasons; and who want to (and do) make changes with the assistance of life coaches and other professionals. Mind you I had been watching this show before I even had gotten my first accurate diagnosis. I could NOT for the life of me figure out what was “wrong” with me, why I was in so much pain every single day, why I felt I was going to spill all over the place at any given moment. I kept the “everything is fine, I swear!!” mask on through about two years ago. It was actually a scary, fake-smile fascade. My friend, Joe, recently told me that he knew I was incredibly depressed by the time we hit 11 years old. I asked him how he knew, and he replied that even as young as we were then, he could clearly see I was trying too hard to keep it together. Back to my experiences watching “Starting Over”. I would watch this show hoping with all of my being that somehow they (who they is, I still couldn’t tell you, producers, maybe?) would subliminally know something was dreadfully wrong, and knock on the door of my single room in my dorm. I wanted to start over as each of these other women had. I wanted to find out why I hurt so incredibly badly, why my life on paper (resume) was so “perfect” and yet I was about to totally snap.

On one of the “Starting Over” episodes one of the women is given the task of writing down all the negative statements fed to her as a child. So I took my tush to the nearest place where I could get blank CDs and wrote every single negative, incongruent, falsehood I was fed about myself as a child. I still have every single one of them. I treasure this first step of me intuitively acknowledging where some of my pain was coming from. Acknowledging then led to challenging and “trashing” all these obscene and false ideas I held about myself several years later in therapy.

It was about the same time that I began to trash all the crap I was fed as a child about who I was as a person, my role in life, my potential, etc. that I began plate smashing. This idea was inspired by putting together some of the tx modules I had seen on the “Starting Over” show.

My first plate smashing session occurred with a set of plates given to me my one of my abusers, my step-mother. I felt this was the perfect place to start for obvious reasons, but gave myself permission to do so because there were so many plates, bowls, and mugs missing from the set. So I tossed these plates with all my might into an open dumpster when most of my neighbors were at work. I pre-sorted all of the plate collection so that I had an even set for four which I donated to the domestic violence center I was involved with at the time. The other plates, etc., were fair game for me getting out some of my enormous, hidden rage. It was a safe way of getting that brimming anger out on something inanimate, and not myself. I have journaled, spent hours in individual & group tx, exercised, among about 50 other things to safely get my feelings out. But nothing has ever compared to plate smashing.

Wishing you a wonderful day of feeling your feelings in a safe way,

Joy

Provocation of PTSD and Suicidality?

**Possible trigger: If you are not in a safe place emotionally, please do not read this at the moment.**

I ardently work like it’s my job to maintain safety, find hope in the hopeless moments, use coping skills to drag me out of my pit. I utilize my DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy) as needed (often). If I’m not mistaken my TRUE personality is pleasant, compassionate, sweet, thoughtful, humorous, sarcastic, etc. I know who I AM now. I am not just a post-trauma personality.

However, there is a very angry aspect of me. Of course there is a very pained aspect of me, as well, several of my DID parts are traumatized parts. But, some of my parts are extremely angry, as does quite a bit of moi, the host self that has a lot of repressed anger. I’ve had several beautiful, lovely days in a row. However, some of my parts are suicidal despite that because the pain is absolutely unbearable. Some are so angry, and as my day program tx (not my primary tx) said on Friday, provocative. I was incredibly disconcerted that she believed I was provoking my suicidality. However, apparently her witnessing my “dissociative trance” as she mentioned when I was discussing my true feelings (and the many plans I have made for my demise) for once… was cause for her to say I was being provocative. I was highly insulted. I hate being shoved into a borderline personality disorder corner before someone even gets to know me clinically. I told her I was not manipulating her, not screaming for attention to assuage my emptiness. I don’t self-harm to gain attention. It is my addiction, just like alcoholism, that reduces the incredibly high threshold of pain (esp. following a long flashback). She essentially said I was feeding my suicidality. I cannot, in words, describe how angry that made me. I finally tell her how I feel, and she says I’m arousing my own suicidality, as though that is supposed to somehow help me therapeutically. I am medication compliant, I am not treatment resistant nor difficult. I am so very active in my recovery. I have just hit a really ugly bump in the road, and she continually invalidates me. I’m too clinically difficult for her and the psychiatrist in the program to handle because I won’t be recovered in the 3 weeks of their program. I want a different clinician. I have never requested a different clinician in any program I’ve been in. I want respect of my pain, my anger, my incredible strides towards recovery. I get none from her.

How is it that I’m getting invalidated by my own therapist? The program director has witnessed the behavior and spoke with me about it twice on Friday. I told him I was willing to give her a few more days chance, because he wanted to know if I immediately wanted to switch therapists. If she were simply challenging me, I’d welcome that. Challenge the hell out of me if it will help me get to a safer place in my feelings and thoughts. But, do NOT invalidate me.

And today she’s correct in saying I’m provoking certain feelings. I’m listening to very choleric music to see if I can stay on the healthy anger spectrum and direct it where it belongs and not at myself. Do I think I’m provoking my suicidality? No.

To anyone who is concerned, I am blessed (and cursed?) to have the self-awareness of knowing when I need to be hospitalized. If you are having a difficult time, please see the widget on the left side of my blog, call that hotline, or a hotline, call Psychiatric Emergency Services at your nearest hospital, or 911. Do anything to maintain your safety. We work too hard to let our pain rob us of our life.

Wishing you peace and safety, Joy

Hope from Hope

I am going through an incredibly difficult time right now. I am suffering from a lot of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts of self-harm, suicidal ideations, and a lovely letter from Social Services that says that they will no longer be helping me with my rent as of 12/17/09 (for an unspecified reason). I thought I was hospital-bound before I got that letter, but I kinda lost it (though remained safe) after I opened it. I’ve been proactive and called my housing worker and since she’s not in today, her supervisor. No one has gotten back to me as of yet. If it gets to the point that I become impulsive, or feel that I really cannot maintain my own safety, I will go to the hospital. However, at this current moment, I am safe. I try to practice good self-care daily, and when in major distress, recognize when I am no longer able to keep myself safe. In spite of all these challenges, I am blessed to have some wonderful friends who are very supportive. My best friend, Hope, (see Hopefortrauma in my blogroll) sent this video to me. It is very sweet, and uplifting. So I wanted to share it with you.

Keep on keeping on, I think that’s all I and others can do in difficult times. Wishing you peace and safety, Joy

I would like to share that my best friend, Hope (see blogroll: Hopefortrauma), was featured in the October 2009 Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. I’m not that internet savvy yet that I can just put a link in, but I’m learning. Edit: 11/1/09, I learned how to link. Hope, congratulations on being selected to be featured in the Blog Carnival! I think it is a tremendous accomplishment, and I am so proud of you (all of you!)!!! Thank you for sharing your story and being an inspiration to so many others! You rock my socks!!

I’m back

Ok, so I’m out of the hospital. I have been for a few days over a month. And.. I have a lot to say and catch up on. But, that being said–I think I should focus on some of the most important things in my life right now: positive coping skills. I’m trying to become a coping skills queen. For now I’ll just list some of my favorites. I use these in times of emotional crisis, when I have a lot of physical pain from the flood of feelings (sneaks up on me–tricky bastard), when I want to self-harm (s/h) or feel like dying would be a much better option bc I’m not feeling a lot of strength in dealing with the pain. I am going to list the coping skills in a safety triangle (it is an upside down triangle). In the top tier of the safety triangle are things I can do by myself for myself, then I can reach out to friends (tier 2), professionals/hotlines (tier 3), and in a state of absolute crisis, emergency contacts (tier 4).

Tier 1:
-Square breathing
-Hot spring imagery
-Warm, gentle river imagery
-Cry
-Put trash in its proper place
-Use ice to ground myself
-Imagine negative thoughts go down shower drain
-Write in my “regular journal”, parts journal, gratitude journal, or add to my quote journal (the last two are mini-journals)
-Collage my feelings
-Catch negative thoughts with a butterfly net
-Imagine negative thoughts go from my mouth to the imaginary spitoon/down the sewer
-Scream into a pillow, or in the car
-Watch favorite comedian on youtube
-Sing in room, shower, or car (happy songs: like from the Mama Mia soundtrack)
-Enjoy the cleansing feeling of a shower
-Contain bad thoughts/feelings in pretty box, tie with pretty bow
-Contain ” in a vault with security devices including combination lock, fingerprint and eye scan
-Watch my favorite show/movie on tv
-Collage how I’d like to feel
-Write to my inner children parts
-Smell favorite lotion
-Smell favorite lip gloss
-Smell favorite perfume
-Take care of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) that all adults need to do
-Do yoga: favorite poses: child’s pose, and pigeon pose
-Go for a walk
-Take Chloe, my dog, for a walk
-Lay on something cold
-Pacifier
-Sippy cup
-Use candles with my favorite fragrance
-Sleep
-Blog
-Scrapbook
-Paint on canvas
-Structure my time
-Positive Affirmations

Tier 2:
Friends I can share real stuff with:
-Bff, K
-R
-J
-KM
-SJ
-JG
-SO
-SK
-ST
-SC
-AV
-DC
-LB
-LJ
-MM
-DA
-CO

Family that is supportive:
-Mommy
-Daddy (my step-dad)
-Titi
-Aunt J

Tier 3: (Tx=therapist)
-Tx GB
-Tx CS
-Tx JH
-Dr. D
-PH Hotline

Tier 4:
-911

Tada! My Safety Triangle has been revised (11/28/08) since I left the hospital (10/24/08).

I am currently in a Partial Hospitalization Program for Trauma during the days now. I step down to Intensive Outpatient earlier than I was told, this Wednesday, the 3rd. I have to find a job to help me pay my bills and also seek out help. I’ll blog about self-care at a later date. I just wanted to get the damned safety triangle up there, for myself–and hopefully it may help someone else formulate a safety plan.

Wishing you a peaceful night.