I am devoted to this blog being about healing, not abuse porn. That said, sometimes to talk about healing I will have to talk about hurting. Please consider this sticky post a trigger warning for every entry for childhood abuse of all kinds. If you are having a difficult day, this blog will still be here tomorrow! Consider looking at this picture of a kitten, instead, for now. Be kind and compassionate to yourself.
Also, be kind and compassionate to ME. If you want to stroll by and attack me when I fuck up or for because you don’t like queers or what-have-you, or if you want to fight about the psychiatric profession or EMDR or anything else, please know that I screen all comments and I just won’t let them through. This place is not a debate page. It’s a personal blog.
My mother, whom I have blocked on every other social site and on my phone and on email, just tweeted at me — to correct a fact in something I posted on my public blog.
My memory is so bad, you see. I remember everything wrong! Especially the stuff about who hit, manipulated, and abandoned me.
It’s super important to break years and years of no contact to figure out the one social media site I hadn’t thought to block her on, to create a profile, and to correct me. On where a bird was sitting. Eight years ago.
Hope u don’t mind, she wrote.
Here’s an odd thing about having PTSD that I hadn’t thought about: we’ve just had the second round of layoffs at my ‘new’ job in as many weeks. I feel vaguely that I should be hustling and proving my worth, but instead, I’m dissociating so much I can barely stay awake. So that’s not good, I guess, I mean, if I were feeling anything I’d probably say that’s not good.
But here’s a wonderful thing about therapy: I no longer confuse my employers for parents. While I’ll be worried about money if I’m laid off, I do not have any horrific sense of doom that feels exactly like I did when my mother was in a bad mood and I knew I would get it regardless of what I did. I do not feel like I’m about to get in trouble. I do not feel vaguely guilty and sick and terrified of what is coming, as I always have when I’ve survived layoffs in the past at other places.
I just feel bad for the folks who were laid off, and despite my dissociation I’m keeping my resume and portfolio very polished and up-to-date. That is all.
And that is AMAZING. I mean, I’m pretty sure I will think that’s amazing when I come out of this fog.
So here’s something interesting: although my session this week did not contain a huge breakthrough, and I left telling her I still feel stuck– after the session, I have not been having my morning anxiety attack.
I hadn’t thought it did much of anything. I had a lot to go through to discuss the past two weeks and I was unable to find a target to point to for an EMDR session.
My shrink thinks its grief, and survival guilt, and grief grief grief grief.
So I have homework: to journal about my darling little sister. The one who had my mother as her primary caretaker for her first three months on earth. The one I feel way too much responsibility toward. The one I still cry over.
So I’m gonna.
Just naming it, apparently, has helped.
For the past few weeks, I’ve awoken to a mild anxiety attack every single morning, after a night of not-enough or constantly interrupted sleep (interrupted by my own brain, that is).
Today was more anguished than usual, although once I finally heaved my carcass out of bed my ‘difficult’ son and I managed to have a pleasant morning (even if we were both rather late).
I’ve been dressing up for work and get-togethers lately to feel better about myself but I am at work in jeans and a hoodie today. I did force myself to shower, take meds, and brush my teeth. (Much of that, I did at work– but at least I did it.)
As the day has gone on, I’ve been more and more and more distracted and tense. More reactive and anxious. I am bouncing my leg so hard that the whole keyboard is shaking. And yet I’ve been nearly falling asleep at my desk. I am moving jerkily in a fog.
Something is afoot, my friends. I sure hope we can figure it out in therapy tonight.
At the words ‘therapy tonight,’ a shock of fear jolted through my heart.
Bizarrely enough, I find this a hopeful sign. My subconscious knows it can’t hide for much longer!
I am coming to get you, Subconscious. You can run but you can’t hide.
Quiet: I seem to be very quiet when I am dealing with pre-verbal trauma! WHO’DA THUNK IT.
Explosions: I’ve had a few friends check in anxiously and I just want to say that one of my children’s needs has basically exploded and I’m spending all my time on the phone with his teachers, with various agencies, and with family to address his particularly acute needs and I have to set aside some of this self-exploration for a bit. I’m not taking a break or anything, but if I’m not posting as often as before please don’t worry. I’m just kicking ass and taking names.
Positive self talk: due to the above and the preverbal trauma stuff and a bit of work stress (we just had layoffs), I’ve been waking up with a mild anxiety attack every morning. This morning, instead of just lying there enduring it or holding my coparent as tightly as I could to stave it off (holding people does help), I spoke to myself as I would to another person going through this: “Of course you are having an anxiety attack. There are a lot of stressful things going on in your life right now. It’s okay to have this. This is a symptom of actual anxious stuff. Feel it and when you can, get out of bed, but don’t beat yourself up for this. This is hard stuff. You are fighting every day, so of course your body needs to gear up for the fight. It’s okay. You are still you. You can still do everything you need to do today. I believe in you.”
And you know what? It actually made me feel much better! One of my leftovers from my childhood is doubting that my feelings are legitimate, or darkly questioning the intensity of them. I gaslight myself. Today, I affirmed my feelings and told myself they were legitimate but it would still be okay.
I never quite understood affirmations before. They made me squirm, because they seemed so empty and phony. Now I see that I just needed them in my own words, focusing on what I need. I can’t recommend this sort of self talk enough.
I heard this on my morning commute. I think it’s been run before. The image brings tears to my eyes. The young man’s head bent. The older man’s head bent.
The young man’s utter, overwhelmed, defeated posture.
He didn’t do it. It’s a very fast listen and the images are so heartbreaking and yet encouraging. There is a photo of them now, 10 years later, at the link:
So my shrink thinks that I have triggered some pre-verbal trauma, which is awesome. She has heard of some ways to access this sort of thing but is not certified and doesn’t want to use me as guinea pig, which seems legit.
Also I am sick AGAIN.
So I’m spending a lot of time canceling plans and curling up in a blanket and staring into space. Watching The Good Wife, which seems like an odd thing for an infant to do but I guess I’m an odd infant. Snuggling whomever will sit still enough to allow me to snuggle them.
Trying to do non-verbal and non-processing things like dressing up for work every day in over-the-top dandified outfits.
Not sure what else to do. No words, see!