New therapist part deux

So today I saw the new therapist. He I suppose ‘warned’ me that he did voluntary work in the city with prostitutes – counselling them that is. He has a few locations that he works and as I was flexible this space had availability. It certainly forced my own prejudices. Although I consider myself open minded the sudden idea of going into an office space that might seem ‘seedy’ or where I might be mistaken as a ‘whore’ did I have to guiltily admit cross my mind.

What of course I hadn’t seen coming was that the office space also contained an examination space for women with all the medical needs, swab taking and other bits and bots that I don’t like to think about. It had never occurred to me that service would also be in there – hugely triggering for me. But the therapist was new so I didn’t intend to show my fear and panic. He left the room to get drinks. A panic attack was gripping me, my breathing was shallow and the room lost all colour. I felt so terrified and my brain was working overtime to block memories. The paper towels on the bed, that lamp on the wall, the medical equipment sterile in those bags. The waiting, the fear, the shame, the urge to run. The helplessness, the dread, memories pushing to the service, a quiet wish for death to suddenly creep around the heart and squeeze it, stop. End it. Noises around are unbearably loud, taunting, life goes on but you are ignored. That’s how every private examination is for me even now. In pregnancy I avoid most but do what I need to on the basis that it’s for my baby. That’s what gets me through.

But still although my entire body wanted to run, I defied it. I would focus on this therapist and see what would happen.

Dressed in jeans and a t-shirt he was laid back, straight talking and surprisingly easy to talk to. I had planned on not saying much but I said more than I intended. Not about my past. But I talked about my mental health. My lows and my struggles. I was very open. Usually I don’t get so detailed about that, people tend to balk at the details. Especially when I talk about the demons when I get very low and being dead inside. But he didn’t batter an eyelid. He told me I had a lightness about me and saw me quite differently to the way I saw myself. But I think that’s because we’ve only just met. Give it time and he will see the darkness.

We talked about goals and I explained that my past was holding me back. I’m sure he’s already worked things out, these people are meant to be perceptive. I don’t think I will talk about those things for a while. But the emotive stuff is tough enough and getting out the day to day triggers and things I can’t talk to other people about will keep the conversation in flow.

He seems to have a different perspective, and I felt myself go to disassociate a couple of times because he’s straight talking which I need because I don’t want to pay him to shoot the breeze for the next few years. I do want to make some progress.

But I’m also realistic that this might end in another failure!!

I got home and I felt drained. I lasted as long as I could but I’d hardly slept the night before. My husband arrived home and in the end I headed to bed to lie down.

I was woken up in a panic by a nightmare. It was still light, so I looked around the room and said over and over, I’m in my room in my house, my husband is downstairs, I’m safe. My erratic breathing found its rhythm and I felt grounded again. It wouldn’t take a professor to interpret this particular dream. I won’t go into details, it was an unusual format. But can I believe this session shook my little brain up?

So fingers crossed for ‘jeans’ fixing things.

And this Sunday I’m returning to monthly group therapy, having missed it last month due to being away.

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When the rapist isn’t obvious

I saw this article today on facebook

http://lunalunamag.com/2014/10/13/50-shades-rape/

An extract of the article;
“We imagine rapists as pigs, as misogynists, as men who degrade women on a daily basis—we never seem to imagine them as teachers, poets, professors, fathers, brothers, lovers, or friends. They are all of these things, whether we like to admit it or not. We imagine bros on a football team, not fiction writers at a MFA program; this is a disservice to humans everywhere, because it is implying only one type of human must commit assault.”

How refreshing to see this. How sad and poignant.

How I see my rapist has always been like a demon. With cold, dead eyes. Something unreal, unearthly. I got a glimpse of something angry, conniving, evil, angry but cold and sinister. So when I returned to the country where the assault occurred and hired a PI, I was shocked to discover he was married with a child. Living an apparently normal, civil life. Not only that but as I alluded to in a previous blog, his family had creeped over onto a family from my own childhood with good memories. By sheer coincidence. But a painful, inadvertent knife to the chest nonetheless.

Of course this family would be the none the wiser. And that’s just it. No one would.

I’m glad I reported what happened. I’m not glad of the pain I went through, the shame and humiliation of it. But I’m glad that what he’s capable of is known by someone other than me. Although I’m the only one that truly knows what lies beneath that surface.

I have very little trust in anyone. To me, anyone could be the next predator. And I tell my children to be cautious as well. Teachers, strangers, police, neighbours, religious figures, doctors, they can’t be alone with anyone.

I’m fearful for them and I’m fearful for me.

That’s how I’m used to living now.

Flashback and arguments

I had a flashback today. When I become stressed and feel vulnerable they seem to come from nowhere and knock me sideways. Fortunately this one was not violent in nature, but incredibly graphic and emotive. I was for a few minutes, there.

Yesterday my husband and I argued. It was my second daughter’s birthday at the swimming pool. I don’t do parties, not even my child’s. I had hoped to escape early on but another parent stayed so I felt obliged. I was so aware of the stifling heat, I felt so trapped. My breathing felt laboured. My husband was in the pool so I couldn’t look to him to save me. Time scraped by so slowly. My entire body screamed to run. Finally after the kids returned to eat painfully slowly and parents arrived I could taste freedom. But then my kids wanted ice creams and treats and there was a line at the cafe and my husband isn’t exactly the fastest moving man. I just wanted to scream. I handed my older daughter his keys and phone and practically went running out into the car park fortunately we had taken two cars. I took the baby seat out of mine, put it next to his car and got in the peace and sanctity of my car. I knew I couldn’t just go, so I waited there trying to restore even breathing. As he approached with the kids I pointed to the car seat and put the car in reverse, he called me a non too flattering name which upset me greatly (and no it wasn’t ‘bitch’ I could have lived with that). I drove off upset.

And kept driving.

My initial idea was to drive far away until I was tired then sleep in the car. But as I kept going I reasoned, I don’t have my medication and really, how rational am I being? Does this mark the decline of an unwell woman? I don’t want to be irrational. Before I took my medication this is the sort of shit I used to pull, take off, go drinking or disappear for nights. To my own detriment.

I just needed to cool off.

I drove to another town and then decided to watch a movie. It happened to be a funny one. I called my husband after and we talked it through. Then I began my drive home. Glad that I’d decided to return.

He goes away next week to Australia, I’m not especially pleased! I find it stressful enough looking after the kids at the moment without any help. But now with my past still sitting there and no one to talk through things with I find it more of a worry. Again, I know I should be over this stuff. But there are triggers and things that people don’t understand.

So my flashback today so clear was of the day after. I know what I was wearing and I know where I was. My friend and I had just returned from the clinic. I was given these pills to take which would apparently prevent pregnancy. The things that struck me were, everything was the same, yet completely different. I seemed to have grown and yet become more of a child over night. My body felt hideous, clumsy, wrong. I felt more alone than I ever had at that moment. And these pills, so tiny, so plain, yet had huge ramifications that I didn’t truly understand. Everything felt so unreal and yet so painfully real at the same time. And most troubling of all – I couldn’t understand any of it. I didn’t think anyone would. Something had happened and I couldn’t explain and no one would know or understand.

In my flashback I could see myself sitting there on the outside step. Looking around. The tablets next to me. I could feel it. I could see the surroundings. I was young again. Small again. Scared again.

This is all things I need to get out and understand and work through.

I just feel very alone with it at the moment. Having my trust broken has effected me much more than I would ever have anticipated. I think it’s put me backwards.

Feeling horrible

The manager from the counselling centre called me out of the blue to discuss to my ‘decision’ to stop therapy for now. I was just driving home, and it really blind sided me. (I have a hands free kit before anyone comments on that!). I really grappled with what to say but in the end went for the truth. After the other therapist took calls my ability to trust properly was broken, being assigned a new therapist who subsequently cancelled due to sickness gave me a bad feeling. So I really felt I had no choice. I did elaborate further on the first therapist, her offloading a lot of her personal problems and receiving other calls and texts. I felt like a nark, but equally I decided that perhaps other clients might feel uncomfortable and need someone to speak out. Either way, she could benefit from more training.

The centre manager was really nice and apologetic. She offered to help but I just want to leave it. I don’t feel I could go back there.

Looking to the future I’m enrolled now for study in March and I’m excited although anxious and doubting my capabilities for that.

But not having a therapist is hard because things trigger me. Things get to me and upset me and it’s difficult because a therapist is really the only person that could understand that. Nightmares that stay with me during the day. Bursts of anger that I want to direct onto myself. Things can go around in my head on a loop driving me mad. Sometimes the tears well up, I feel lost and alone. I feel scared. I feel waves of panic, loss of control.

I’d like someone to listen to that, take it out of my head. I want someone to clear the bad bits away. I want to ask someone the questions over and over. Why me? Why me? Why me? Why me?

I want to sit somewhere safe and say, I feel dirty, I feel ashamed. I’m tainted. I’m different, I’m ruined. Fix me?

I want to blurt out all the disgusting things I have felt and experienced over and over in the hope that the insidious evil might leave my body and spread around the room to objects that will melt, become twisted revolting and unusable, unrecognisable.

I’d like a good therapist. I’d like to be heard.

I fear I’m becoming a little lost.

I just won’t have therapy.

My new therapist text to cancel our first appointment due to her being ill. The following Monday is a holiday. I’m sick of this. Unreliable, sickly therapists. I confirmed receipt of her text and said we’d leave it there. She told me she ‘appreciated my need to take a break from therapy for self care.’

WTF??!!!

Take a break? Love, I didn’t even get started!

You know I’m so fed up. Fine, fuck it, I’ll go back to what I’m best at, keeping it all inside.

I saw my psychiatrist today. At least psychiatrists seem able to keep appointments. I talked through my slip with my medication and how I managed it. The genuine fear of becoming unwell. My husband and I had watched a couple of horror movies over the weekend, by coincidence both involved rituals summoning evil demons. This is a real fear for me. When my lows reach psychotic level I fear demons coming for me. The movies terrified me and served as a reminder that I really don’t want to get to a point of needing hospitalisation. And although the highs seem appealing with the endless energy and almost super human powers – I’m not a nice person. I’m selfish, nasty, mean, and dangerous.

So I take accountability for looking after my mental health and I’m so lucky that good psychiatrists are easier to find.

But to have some support with the anxiety, the triggers, the nightmares, the PTSD, that would take a knowledgeable, patient and experienced therapist. That, it seems, I am not going to find.

My story stays within me. The broken glass that cuts me from within. The ugly shapes and unhealed scars. The cause of my tears and my silent pain through the night.

No he has no power over me. But the grief, the images, the confusion, the questions, the loneliness. I am alone with it all. Just as it was then, there is no escape.

Strange week so far

It’s been a strange week so far. Reflecting, making decisions, coming to some realisations. For once as Spring brings its warmer sun I feel there are some brighter changes on the horizon.

Firstly I noticed I had become a bit careless with my medication regime. I had been so regimented at taking them in the mornings and ensuring I had plenty. But somehow, I guess with the holiday and sickness, it got slightly out of routine. I didn’t see it happening. But I noticed symptoms. Physical at first. Periods of dizziness and fleeting seconds of disorientation. It never occurred to me what it was. But then the irritability. The disturbed sleep and my thoughts getting faster, a little disjointed. I looked at my pill box one evening and was shocked to see missed days. How could I be so stupid? The reality of becoming unwell scared me. Starting with a new therapist and various stressors, it wouldn’t take a lot. Usually I would hide this from my husband and from everyone. Not until I was clearly very unwell would anyone know. But I’m not taking risks with my health. I explained to my husband what had happened. As a temporary measure I will start back on increased quietiepiene until I see my psychiatrist and can get my lithium levels checked and an overall review. I need to make sure I get my sleep back on track and watch for any symptoms. My husband is also good for looking out for anything unusual as well. I guess the important learning curve for me here is, my mental health is very important to me. In the past I’ve been flippant. But I really don’t want to become unwell again. I take responsibility for my health and that means being honest and being more careful. I can’t afford to take chances or miss a few days.

I’ve also been considering my long term objectives. My husband and I have discussed this at length and he agrees that now would be a good time for me to go back to full time study. I’m nervous but excited. It’s time to reeducate and focus on subjects that really interest and motivate me.

I’ve started swimming again. It was something I did regularly but haven’t done for a long time. It’s time to start looking at healthy ways to relax.

I guess I also found out recently that some friendships are not sustainable. Particularly if they are intrinsically linked to parts of the past that are best forgotten. It’s the whole ‘elephant in the room’ syndrome – sadly evil really is insidious and sometimes the wisest thing to do really is to leave well alone. To do otherwise is at your peril. In my case I suppose other than some (emotional) bruising I have finally realised – no one owns me anymore. I used to be so scared. What if this, what if that. But you know, it’s exhausting. And to be honest, the worst has happened.

So as I say, an odd week so far! But I’d like to consider it a positive one. I want to look forward to things. I want to manage things. I don’t want to be stressed, anxious, miserable, all the time.

I know I will have terrible days. Bed days as I call them. I will have this anxiety. But at least I’ve started learning something. That can only be a good thing.

New therapist

Meeting the new therapist on Friday was like hanging out for root canal. I thought my insides were going to spontaneously and very painfully combust. Thursday night I barely slept and took enough sleeping medication to kill a small horse. So Friday morning my daughter was practically dragging me around the house – great going – epic mother fail number 106. The girls were in their holiday program but my son was home with me. That was fine, we snuggled up and watched car movies. Until the little man finally pyked on me and had to have his nap. So after he was down I watched loads of mindless, drivel. Empty, crappy low brow television aimed at killing off brain cells. Love it! I even lay across the couch like a right piece of trailer trash, I just lacked the customary liquor and crack. Yes, I’ve been watching too many American movies recently.

Anyhoo, I managed to judge the time wrong and still ended up gunning it to get to my appointment on time. We met my husband there so he could take little man. Fortunately it was a beautiful day. And there’s a garden and the woman even had those chuppa chup things? Not sure what they’re called – lollies anyway.

The woman was particularly older than I’d imagined. Getting into granny territory. An odd voice, not soft, almost robotic. She seemed awkwardly twisted. Not like quisimodo but perhaps just reactionary to ongoing back pain. Very sharp short hair and piercing blue eyes. I did my usual and made jokes – not about her but rather about me being mental etc. she wasn’t amused. She definitely didn’t get my humour. When we talked about disassociating she said some people could disassociate so badly they could go off for hours and come back with receipts and not know what they have been doing. I said I’d had have to remember that next time I i go to the mall to tell my husband. She got very serious.

I went briefly over the summary. I didn’t want to get into details. She wasn’t warm but she wasn’t really cold either.

I sense I will get real professionalism out of her and I will get treated equally. I don’t think I will get to know her personal history and I think she will be honest and fair. That is ultimately all I have wanted.

But I am nervous to trust again.

I am scared to open up and go into things again.

I don’t see her again now for another two weeks. I guess the break is good.

Friday night I puked my guts up all night. I felt so ill. Stress, coincidence? I don’t know.

But I know that I’m feeling down, my medication will have been affected by the sickness and aside from looking after the kids, I don’t look after myself. I don’t pursue the things that I enjoy. I’ve just stopped.

And that makes me sad.

I’m not living. I’m merely existing.