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Monthly Archives: August 2014

Me speaking to me

My last appointment with T (last week) was partially about Robin Williams, as I felt like it was interesting how it had affected me. RW was a part of my entire growing up years, both in film and on TV, and I was sad. Sad for him and sad for his family. But I also found it interesting how people responded–more about his life and his humanity than how it ended–so we talked about that a bit. Then we talked about how I’ve been kind of stuck on watching (or mostly listening) to Frozen. The songs seem to touch me in some way, and T encouraged me to continue to listen to the songs and “let them do what they need to do for you.” I don’t really like the animation–it in fact is rather offensive to me–but the songs are hitting me right now. So any time I have nothing on the television to watch, I put Frozen on and while I’m doing other things, I enjoy the songs. And it isn’t just “Let it go” that works for me, it’s almost all the songs…even though I don’t necessarily know why.

Once we were finished talking about that, we started talking about my previous homework. T has asked me to listen to a couple of specific Miles Davis songs, to see if that kind of music would move me, but again it was a bust. I see music so different from her (and others, I’m sure) because it’s more a “friend” or companion for me. It’s not about the emotions of the song, or even the words…it’s just about the companionship. I always have something going in the house–the TV or music–because I don’t particularly like silence. Sure, there are times when I will be in silence, but most of the time I like some kind of noise when I’m alone. I have tinnitus, and the way I chose to deal with that is that I keep noise on all the time to keep the tinnitus at bay. So television and music is just background noise…company, that is all. So finding the emotion she is looking for just won’t work for me.

We talked a little about the issues I have with eating–thinking about it so much, and how I not only pre-think it, but then I think about it as I’m eating and after I’m eating–and how that was going. I asked her if I’d ever told her about my grandmother. My grandmother loved us all, and was a huge part of our lives. Being the only girl, I got a lot more of her attention than the boys did, which was not always a good thing. My grandmother had her own weight issues, as did pretty much every woman in my family and in my life. As I was really in the hardest time of my life, pre-adolescence and etc, she was learning how to eat healthier and exercise. She went to extremes (which was “normal” for lots of people during that time period) on a low-fat diet, trying to control her cholesterol and blood pressure and weight. She went to extremes working out as well. And she talked about everyone around her, family and friends and strangers. She talked about their weight and how it fluctuated, and she talked about their size and the food they put in their mouths. And I was always overweight, so she put her hooks into me and tried to “help” me. She took me with her to her aerobics classes, and told me I needed to lose weight and eat differently. This went on for years and years. I never lost weight because I snuck food and I ate the things I wanted to eat when she wasn’t around. I hated dealing with her during those years, even though I loved her so much. I wanted to please her, but I hated that she hated how I looked and who I was. As a child, I had no idea that it was HER who had the issues and that she was projecting them onto me. At about fourteen, maybe a little younger, I was out with my grandmother and my mom. We were shopping for bathing suits for my grandmother because she was headed to Florida for the winter and while there she taught water aerobics to her elderly community every day. So she needed multiple bathing suits and she wore them out. So we went to Loehman’s, which if you don’t know, they were a discount store and their changing rooms were just a big open room where everyone could see everyone. We found her a couple of suits to try and went into the room to keep her company while she tried them on. After she bought stuff and we were back in the car, my grandmother immediately starting talking about some of the other women in the room. How heavy they were, how they didn’t look good in what they were trying on and if they just lost weight they’d look so much better.

I got so mad. I was always the good kid, I never talked back and I clung to my mother all the time. I never stood up to anyone, I never gave my opinion because I didn’t want to have a confrontation. Maybe I was younger than fourteen, maybe I was twelve or so, I’m not sure. But I was sitting in the back seat of the car and I said, “You need to stop!”

“Stop what, darling?” my grandmother asked.

I told her to stop talking about other people’s weight. Stop talking about what they look like or what they should or shouldn’t be wearing, or should or shouldn’t be eating. Stop judging them. She had no idea what I was talking about. I told her she talks about everyone like that, whether she knows them or not. And I said to her, “What if you overheard someone else talking about ME like that? That I’m too fat to wear a bathing suit? That I’m too fat to be eating that bagel? That my hips are huge and my thighs must jiggle…”

I don’t think she got it because I recall her saying, “But you just need to lose some weight and you’ll be so pretty!”

My mother looked at me over the seat back–she was driving–and I think she felt appalled. But she said nothing. I told my grandmother that every time she said those things about other people, she might as well have been saying it about me. Then I fell back against the seat and clamped my mouth shut. It’s possible my grandmother may have apologized and said she would try not to talk like that anymore, but I’m not sure if that’s real or I made that up as an adult to make myself feel better. I only know that things didn’t really change, as she continued to watch my food intake and my weight.

T asked me if I had ever told my younger self that it was not my issue but it was grandmother’s issue. I didn’t answer, but apparently I had a look on my face because T sort of smiled and said that it was clear I didn’t believe what she was saying, that it would make a difference. I asked why she said that and she said that every time she talks about being kind to my younger self, I make a face. I told her I didn’t understand how to do what she was suggesting because I AM an adult, and as an adult I understand what the issues were. And how was I supposed to talk to someone (my younger self) who didn’t really exist anymore. And she tried to tell me that younger self still lives inside me and she’s STUCK because I haven’t gotten past those traumas of my youth. I said I didn’t understand how to talk to “my younger self” in the manner she suggested. So she asked me to try to picture that day and picture all the details. Then picture myself as an adult sitting next to myself as a child. And then talk to younger self about how the things my grandmother was saying and doing were HER issues and not mine. That I’m a fine and creative child, sweet and compassionate, smart and worthy.

I could only tell myself that it was my grandmother’s issue, not OUR issue. Then I cried, and I asked T if I could go home and write this instead of saying it out loud. She said “sure” and asked me to email it her before our next session. I think mostly because our time was up. I still haven’t written it, but I will. I just don’t know how it will work for me or how it will make a difference. But I always promise to try things…and if they work that’s great. If not, I will try the next thing.

Anyone else talk to their “younger self” ? Does it help you?

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Doin’ the back step

I had a terrible weekend. I was running out of my digestive enzyme pills, and in an effort to not have to buy my pills from the nutritionist that I haven’t seen in months, I went to the internet and bought a new type of pill. Don’t get me wrong, I researched as best I could, and thought I settled on something. I knew I’d have an issue changing pills, because, well, pills. I don’t take new thing easily…and in fact usually end up with major anxiety over it. I have two different pill bottles (at least) from the nutritionist that I never took because I couldn’t force myself past the anxiety. But the digestive enzymes…I need those for my heartburn. I’ve tried stopping them and I’ve even tried skipping them now and then…and even reducing to once a day instead of twice just to stretch the number of pills. I haven’t been successful at any of that, so I know I need the pills.

The new pills came, and I waited until Saturday to take them, since I knew I’d be home and Hub would be home with me. I took the damn pills with lunch and had what I would call mild anxiety afterward. But I pressed through and took the pill again with dinner. Saturday night I slept horribly, had dreams every time I closed my eyes, and woke up feeling crappy. Not necessarily news for me, but something felt off. But I knew I had to try again, else I’d be giving in again to my anxiety. So Sunday I repeated the pill process and ignored the mild anxiety that came along with it. But Sunday night, right around the time to go to sleep, I started feeling nauseous. Which kept me up and pushed me into more anxiety. I started feeling bad, I couldn’t sleep, I kept getting up to go to the bathroom. I didn’t sleep well. This morning I laid in bed while Hub went to take care of the dogs and their morning rituals. By the time he was ready to have his breakfast, I’d already called down to the kitchen via our telephone intercom and asked Hub to work from home. He immediately said yes, no problem, which was instant relief of sorts. But he came up to shower and after his shower, I told him what was going on. That I felt nauseous and sick and like there was something wrong. Even though I’d spent hours this morning already trying to talk myself out of the anxiety sitting on my shoulders. Hub sat with me on the bed and I told him everything I was dealing with. Then I got up to go to the bathroom and I felt the shaking start. When I came back to bed, I told him I almost wanted the panic attack to happen and be over with, except that I hate panic attacks…that they are scary and tiring and make me feel weak and like I’ve lost all the progress I’ve made over the last 2 years in therapy. He tried to remind me that this was a blip in the road, not a complete fallback. I sat and shook and cried and he let me.

I still feel nauseous. I still am worried that maybe THIS is the time that something is really wrong with me. That I’m spending time talking myself out of being anxious when really there IS something wrong THIS TIME.

Hub has taken care of the dogs, taken care of me, and is now napping next to me. I’m still awake, still feeling crappy, and still anxious. The big panic attack never came–but the smallish one was bad enough thankyouverymuch–but I’m so not over this hump yet. I emailed the nutritionist to ask her if she had any of the pills in stock–I only have TWO left–and I’ll just have to count the new pills as a loss. I can’t stomach the thought of trying them again and having it really be the pills that did all this to me (versus some other origin).

I don’t like being this way. I don’t want to do this again and again. I’ve been able to conquer so much of my anxiety, why can’t I conquer this health anxiety? What is holding me back? T is now concentrating on my disconnectedness and my inability to process some emotions (or let those emotions out). I’m going to have to figure out how to smush in this health anxiety, too. T thought it wasn’t going to be something I could get beyond, but I need to try. Although I have been able to get past it some of the time, other times it’s overwhelmed me. I want to get past ALL of it.

 

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Sad sad news – Robin Williams RIP

I am such a fan of his, but even more I’m sad for his family and for his struggle. Depression can take down the largest of men. Please seek help and ask for other people to help you if you need it.

Robin Williams tried over and over again until apparently he couldn’t try anymore. I wish he had tried one more time, as the world is a little less funny without him and his contributions.

But for those of us struggling, take away from this that we need to continue to fight for ourselves and our lives. Fight on and on and on, and when you’re tired, ask someone to pick you up and fight with you.

I have no idea really what I’m saying. I’m just deeply saddened by the loss of this extraordinary man’s life.

http://mashable.com/2014/08/11/robin-williams-dead-dies-at-63/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2014 in anxiety, depression, link, loss, suicide

 

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A classic(al) failure

I think I’m in a crappy mood. In fact, I’m pretty sure of it. Just a forewarning.

In my previous post, I talked about being disconnected, and how T was suggesting I try listening to some classical music to see if I could find some body awareness. She even indicated that she feels her feelings in her “heart chakra”…which, no offense to anyone, is kind of where she lost me. I don’t know how I feel about the chakra stuff, but then again I’m not knowledgeable about it. So take that as it is. Anyway, I’m sure my eyes kind of glazed over when she started talking like that. However, being the good therapy-attender that I am–and my issues with perfectionism–I tried what she asked me to try.

I looked up the composer she suggested and I tried listening to a couple of compositions. I tried, over and over again. And I was bored. I don’t like classical music. I’ve never liked classical music. I don’t get emotional over music or art or even books. As much as I love reading and I love books, I don’t even get emotional over them…at least not like she’s asking for. Yes, I feel emotional, and yes when the characters and/or story are good, I get invested. But I can’t say I’ve ever felt that connection physically in my body. I just don’t understand that. I don’t get it. I don’t know what she’s LOOKING for, and I’m so frustrated.

I have my appointment with her tomorrow, so again I tried. I went through two composers tonight and got nowhere. The music is…fine. It’s music. It sounds like an orchestra. I hear the movements, the changes in speed, texture, tone. I could tell you all about it if I really got into it. I could use ALL the words. But to feel any of it in my body…sorry, no. I tried to listen to a couple of works from some guy whose music sounds like what you might get in a movie? And there was some chanting (this kind of stuff is similar to what Hub likes to listen to on occasion) with the music. And sure, it was interesting. And I plowed through four or five of his “songs”, but did they give me some sort of feeling physically? No. Other than frustration, which gives me heartburn.

Am I broken? What the hell? Do other people feel all the feelings in their body when they listen to music? Or look at a piece of art? Or read a book, touch a piece of pottery, a statue, a handmade quilt? I have feelings. I have emotions. I can tell you all about them. Why is it necessary for me to feel something physically in my body to prove something?

Told you I was in a crappy mood. I feel like I’ve failed at whatever it is she’s asked me to do, which I’m not even sure about. I’m disappointed.

 

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Disconnected

One of the people I follow here on WordPress wrote a blog post with a paragraph that hit a very deep part of me. Her name is April…go read her blog, it’s pretty amazing. I hope she won’t be upset that I quote her (and if so, April, let me know and I’ll edit and remove your words)…

The worst part of depression for me, is that I can’t show, or I withhold the love I feel for the people I love. I don’t hug, tell them I love them enough, pay attention to what they are saying. I deeply feel it, but for some reason, I can’t show it. That makes me feel the worst about myself, which continues the cyclic pattern of my depression. Not only does my behavior hold me captive by depression, it truly hurts my heart.

That struck me so much, and right now it’s something I’m attempting to deal with in therapy. T says I’m disembodied. The thing is, I feel everything so deeply that it is often painful. But on some level I’ve begun to realize that I feel pain, anxiety, unhappiness, guilt, shame, self-judgement…and the like very deeply. I can feel anger and fear and panic. I have a very deep understanding of my body and how it feels when it relates to any of those emotions (or pain). I know when to rest if I’m tired or feeling unbalanced. I know when to hold back energy-wise so that I can do things I really need (or want) to do. My relationship with my physical body is probably more on point than most, because I’ve HAD to be that way.

But T asked me in my last session about feeling emotional happiness, contentment, joy, things like that…in my body. ANYWHERE in my body. Where do I feel it when I look deeply into my husband’s eyes, or hold my mother’s hand… And I told her I had no idea. She asked me to think about something important, someone important, and asked me where I felt it physically. My mind went right to my first dog, who I still grieve over. I can feel the texture of her fur, smell her unique smell, see her deep brown eyes. She asked me where I was feeling that energy in my body…and I immediately burst into tears (which I rarely do in sessions). I told her I felt it in my throat, a huge lump. But it wasn’t what she was looking for, because that went right to grief and pain, and loss. Those are “easy” for me to feel.

Why do I always go right to those feelings, those emotions? Why are they so easy to manifest physically, but the good things are so hard. I love my husband and my family, my dogs, my friends. I love the people (and dogs) who are gone from my life. I love my writing, the creative side of me, but I’m disconnected from them physically. I would do anything for any of them, without hesitation, and often do what I can to show them I love them. I hug them and tell them I love them, but it’s almost an effort, in that I have to THINK about doing it. Finding the physicality of it is not automatic for me anymore. But ask me to make something, do something, go somewhere, look something up, buy something…I do it without question. Ask me about the emotion of it, how it makes me feel to show that love? I can verbalize it, but I don’t know that I FEEL it inside me.

T sent me home and told me to listen to a piece of orchestral music and to try to breathe with it. Feel it, find where it touches me physically. I did it once last week and got…nothing. In her office, she had asked me to focus on a painting and find where it brought up physical feeling in my body…but it was just a picture. I could talk about how it represented hope, and the future, and how it was full of dreams. But those words didn’t connect to anything inside me. It was a painting. I don’t have a thing about artwork, and I don’t have a thing about music. I’m not sure I EVER have. How am I supposed to find connection, embodiment in those things?

She was quick to tell me in the office that the painting thing was a diagnostic tool, not a show of failure on my part to connect. And yet, I felt like a failure. Listening to the music and feeling nada made me feel like a failure. Something else I can’t do right. I left the office, practically ran out to my car, and burst into tears again. I cried in the parking lot, I cried on the way home. I feel split open…filleted. I cried over my failure, I cried over my dog…the one whose grief haunts me. I often feel that I’m still grieving her, and that it’s blocking my ability to feel real happiness and contentment. Not one time have I mentioned Sweet Pea in therapy that I haven’t cried. That I haven’t felt inundated with grief and loss. Am I still holding on to that? Is that really doing a number on me? Or am I overthinking things again? Am I looking for a WHY when there is none?

 

 

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