Chuggin’ along…

December 27, 2010

It has been very heartening to read how well, average, not-so-well, or okay many people managed the holidays. I feel it’s important to write it out, whether it is a good or bad or so-so experience. I don’t believe writing it out and/or reading others experiences just for comparison, but rather for inspiration and ideas. Certain times of the year are triggering, or just plain annoying, and reading about how people approach those times of year and deal with it help me feel a little less alone.

Over the past few days I’ve been debating writing about how it has been for me. It was not good. It is not good now, but I’m still here and my kids had a wonderful time. I tried really hard to see this time of year through their eyes and that almost helped. I never want them to associate the holidays with anything other than wonder and joy, so that’s my focus.

I will do whatever I need to do to move through these next couple of weeks intact. Hopefully I will look back and see how I can do things better next time.

No one nurtures Lisa except Lisa. No one asks if I need help or could use a break. No one offers to scratch my back, rub my feet, or play with my hair. No one asks about all of the band-aids on my body. They just come home and eat, mess up rooms while playing, and have their fun. No one asks if I had a good day.

I know they are happy, secure, loved, and comfortable with themselves. I know they feel safe and self-confident. I know that they feel that way because of me.

There is never a break. When I’m home alone it’s a flashback fiasco and a fight to stay aware (There’s this new “twitching” thing going on all the time, like my hands are moving independently. What’s that mean?). Out in public I’m suffering through anxiety attacks in stores, doctor’s offices, and store bathrooms. Last Wednesday I thought I was having a heart attack and asked to go to a hospital, but my therapist talked me down and I was okay. I’m not thinking straight and my vision is blurry.

I feel a little sorry for myself, a bit whiny, semi-suicidal and very confused. It’s this “first year after being diagnosed” stuff, I think, in large part.

On the up side all of the shopping and wrapping is finished. My best friend bought me an Affirmation Ball (“You Can Do It!”, “Nice Outfit!”) which is hysterical, as well as an Emergency Yodel Button. I have baked 4 million cookies, 12,000 loaves of different breads, convinced the kids that Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and decorated the house.

Only one thing left……..the Christmas Eve Chinese dinner while watching Father Ted’s – A Christmassy Ted.

So, what have we learned? Lisa is a whiny, needy bitch, she has some strange “twitchy” thing going on, DID sucks sometimes, the kids are just fine, Christmas shit is done, and Father Ted is epic, so go buy it and watch it.

Have at the very least, an acceptable holiday, however you may or may not celebrate it. I’ll be reading, and in lieu of a complete breakdown I hope to be writing again next week. Huzzah!

Who needs a title?

December 15, 2010

This holiday season is hard. Like a cement wall hard. Like sure, it can be broken down and the little rocks can be dealt with somehow, but it’s really hard to break through that wall. It’s honestly a comfort to realize that I’m not alone in this, and at the same time I feel bad for us, too.

So, some things to do when the holidays totally suck and nobody gets it:

1. Rewrite holiday songs and sing them softly around people or teach them to your kids. (“I’m dreaming of being more co-conscious. With every switch that I might make…”)

2. Create Calvin and Hobbes snowpeople: http://www.chase3000.com/userpages/calvinhobbes/

3. Buy those $1 christmas craft sets and make some. You can burn them or smash them later.

4. Rewrite holiday stories. I recommend Santa as the world’s greatest ninja. Or Rudolf with an Uzi.

5. Buy lots of bagels, cut them in half, and cover with peanut butter and seeds. Then hang them out for the birds – off of your porch, in trees, on fences…

6. Color your hair (Nice-n-Easy is fairly inexpensive and works really well).

7. Plan a “Godzilla” movie marathon. Really bad kung-fu movies are fun, too. Do it MST3K style for added coping fun.

8. Send yourself a card (I know, I know…I got that from Mr. Bean…).

9. Make a favorite old recipe you haven’t made in a while, or ask someone to help you, if you want. Here’s one of mine:

Lemon Bread

6 tbl. margarine
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
grated rind of 1 lemon
1/2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Topping

3 tbl. sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Cream margarine and sugar. Beat in eggs and lemon rind. Combine dry ingredients and add alternately with milk.
Pour batter in 9×5 loaf pan and let sit for 20 min. before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees F. for about one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Mix sugar and lemon juice and pour over loaf while hot.
Store one day before slicing.

10. Find a rock or make a snowball. Imagine all of your frustration, pain, and negative feelings going into it. Throw it as hard and as far as you can.

11. Buy a big, mushy stuffed animal.

12. Hang some apples in a wooded area where you know deer pass through.

 

That’s all I can think of right now. I’ve been mixing up songs and stories for a couple of weeks now which has been fun. I’m also baking and cooking really delicious and unhealthy stuff.  Not every day, but enough to make it feel comforting inside and outside.

I want to make it through the next few weeks okay. So far it’s not going well, but I’m working on it. I think that if I’m careful and aware I will squeak by with minimal damage. There is nothing I can write to describe how it feels because you already understand, and that means so much.

There is a lot of noise inside. There are a lot of new images, feelings, and emotions. There is a lot of Xanax in my medicine cabinet. It’s messy inside and it’s a lot of work trying to take care of it. As soon as my attention wavers anywhere but inside things get worse and it’s just cope, cope until I can be alone and straighten things out a bit. I have tried everything on the list I wrote and they do help, especially re-imagining songs and stories.

That’s all for now. Therapy has completely fried me for the rest of the day. I am however, going to bake sugar cookies shortly and eat some dough.

We made us a house

December 12, 2010

The people inside (who are NOT paying rent)  made a house all by themselves. I found it the other night while trying to make some sense of the chaos that’s been going on  inside lately. There are several large, brightly-lit rooms but very little furniture. The walls are almost pastel yellow with white moulding. In one corner there is a half-finished staircase leading upstairs, which hasn’t been built yet. There are two doors that I know of. One is in the living room and the other is a large, steel, locked and bolted door which leads to the Forbidden Basement (a young part’s name for it).

People are moving about rather freely within the house, though some seem to prefer staying in separate areas, and not all are aware of each other.

Some of the hellish images and chaotic noise has been coming from the area of the Forbidden Basement. The insanity that I felt was a combination of whatever is in the basement mixed with younger parts pushing against the door to close it. Once I realized that I made sure that door was closed and locked. I don’t know what triggered those images and noises yet, and I don’t want to dwell on it, either.

I have no conscious memory of helping to create this home and I was confused and impressed when I discovered it. It also makes me feel shitty, because I have been neglectful in this area. Sometimes things happen so fast that I can only cope and forget to check in on everyone inside.

I didn’t think I would create a house, because this house is similar to the one I grew up in, structurally. I was planning on a cozy cave, like some of the ones I’ve seen pictures of in Australia. Everything inside is different, though. I didn’t think I had any deep, dark, evil stuff either. Some are holding secrets and had experiences that made them feel that way, but I’m not prepared to deal with that now.

Between my husband, my therapist, the few things that have arrived in the mail that I bought unaware, the drawings, and the journal entries it appears that I am losing time, switching, and just zoning out. You know that feeling you get when you become so dizzy and tingly, and then it feels like you are being wiped off of your own face? I’m fighting that every day lately. Not the entire day, since I seem to be losing that particular fight every so often. However, I did buy some really nice Hanes shirts and sweats for everyone but me, and got free shipping! Even when I dissociate I’m a good shopper.

Last Friday, during therapy, she told me to call whenever I need to during the holiday if I need to talk. I hate that. What did she see during our session to tell me that? I have another appointment this Wednesday and then I’m on my own for a little bit before I see her again.

This was supposed to be a ho-hum holiday. I think that if I’m doing much of the work in the body I should have more say in what goes on, but noooooo……..

 

The holidays and androids

December 6, 2010

This past Saturday my oldest girl participated in a Christmas play and had a blast.

Next week is her middle school chorus concert.

The week after that is my youngest girl’s 3rd grade chorus concert.

Holiday music is everywhere. Streets and lamp posts are decorated. People are wearing holiday pins, scarves, hats, necklaces and whatnot.

Hell, it is snowing right now.

The kids are playing Christmas songs on the organ and singing in the shower.

I have to buy supplies for their school Christmas parties.

They are having dreidel contests in school.

They have already made decorations and are putting them around the house.

They are clamoring for a tree.

It feels like my eyes are stuck open (a la “Clockwork Orange”) and I can’t stop the input of this holiday. There is no place to hide this year and it’s frightening. The only memory I have of Christmas as a kid is one midnight mass and doing some dishes at my grandmother’s house. Then it’s like I woke up in 1998 and I’m fine from then on.

So….I’ve decided I’m an android that was programmed to awake in 1998 and my memory chip was disabled somehow. I mean, really, what other explanation can there be? Oh, I know it’s probably some abuse thingie, but my android theory is much more exciting and interesting. And as an android I should be able to get through this holiday season by implementing a program that allows me to function without feeling any emotions until..oh, let’s say January 17th.

However, while I am searching my data banks for that program I have to suffer through gagging, vomiting, fear, shaking, losing time and confusion. I will also be careful around my children and smile, sing along with them, decorate the house, keep the cats off of the tree, and force myself to sit through holiday shows and movies (although it’s never a problem to watch “Black Adder’s Christmas Carol” no matter how fucked-up I feel).

I have been reading that the holidays can be upsetting and/or triggering for many of us, but I honestly thought I was immune. The holidays just suck usually, that’s all. This year it’s like they are alive, or have some weird hold over me. It worries me a bit.

Well, I have whined enough about it. Writing this out made me feel a little better, though I don’t completely understand why.

Thanks for reading.

Note to self: Never, ever, ever schedule therapy and a breast care center appointment on the same day again!

Since this past Febuary I have been seeing a nurse practitioner for a breast problem. It’s not cancer, there are no cysts, and everything is normal except for my nipples. For nearly a year-and-a-half they have not relaxed and are constantly irritated. I have tried vitamin E, vaseline, warm compresses, cool compresses, different detergents and fabric softeners, bought new bras and new clothing. Vaseline helps the most, but it’s not fun or comfortable to put it on and then cover it with a bandage or skin tape at night.

It was nearly six months before I made an appointment with my GYN to ask what is wrong with them. Then I had to go to the breast care center where I was naked from the waist up (with a front-opening robe) for two hours while my breasts were poked and prodded and sqished and examined. I tried everything she recommended and nothing seemed to help. It wasn’t until I broke down in her office and said I’d had enough that some progress was made.

Before my nurse practitioner began working at the breast care center she worked with sexual abuse victims, children and adults. I hadn’t told her about my abuse history before, but as soon as I did she gave me a completely different list of options to help ease the pain and irritation. She suggested I ask my nipples to tell me why they felt so irritated, and I did, and I broke down again, but it really helped.

My breast problems began as I started to collect narcotic pain killers and blades for my suicide plan. While I felt suicide was the answer at that time, my body (and part of my brain) was screaming to reconsider. It just happened to focus more in my breasts. I think that’s weird, but I am weird, so it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Knowing me, it could have been my left pinky fingernail.

I have been using this “ask the body part what it would say” idea on other body parts since then. If I have a headache, I’ll ask my forehead why it hurts. The week before last the answer was, “Because you have a sinus infection, dummy.”.

While this technique does help, it also brings up feelings or memories I am not prepared for sometimes, so I don’t recommend this to everyone. Then I have to work through those feelings or memories, which has made therapy much more interesting lately.

Asking my body why it hurts or why it’s irritated is helping me to reconnect with it. Along with that comes actual emotions that I don’t completely understand. Feeling emotions in my body where the damage was physically done is helping me to forgive or understand my body little by little. As of yet I haven’t made any incredible strides, but little-bitty ones, and that’s okay for me. My brain still feels like an alien entity, but very slowly my body is becoming more real. It is also frightening at times, but I feel it’s necessary for me to become the person I want to be eventually.

This is just a different technique that I have found to be helpful, but I do not use it too often, because it can be overwhelming. When I know I’m in a safe space I may ask a body part why they feel shaky, irritated, or just plain bad. I never ask that when I have been triggered or have trouble coping at the time. I wouldn’t recommend this to everyone, and I asked my therapist before I tried it at home, but it has made a positive difference for me inside and outside of therapy.

So, I wanted to share that today before I go outside and do damage control. The winds were so strong yesterday that they picked up our shed, spun it 90 degrees and set it down across the yard. Only the door came off and a few things on the shelves fell down. The weird stuff always happens to me.