Monthly Archives: February 2013

PTSD, Asperger’s, Therapy, and Therapists

I’ve been in therapy since 1984, with a few breaks.  That’s longer than some of my readers have been alive!  I first entered therapy in a panic in 1984 when I was 5 months pregnant with my son.  I had had a miscarriage the previous year, and I was very connected with my 5 month old fetus baby.  One night I realized with a bang that if I didn’t do something to end the generational pattern of abuse, it might continue in my generation–and I would be the abuser!  I was horrified by that thought, and the next day began looking for a therapist.

I had no idea how to find a therapist, so I picked one out of the Yellow Pages.  I will NOT go to a male therapist because of my history of serial rape and sexual exploitation, so I chose the only female one in the book, called up and made an appointment, and showed up at the appointed time.  She had a kind of icy exterior, but I was used to that, being in academia at the time, where everyone was in competition with everyone else and even the feminists with whom I worked tended to circle one another like female dogs sizing one another up.  So I thought that’s what it was.

Now, I didn’t realize at the time that my inability to judge character was in large part due to the fact that I am an Aspie (person with Asperger’s).  I’m notoriously bad at reading people, and it has caused me a lot of grief.  I should have just turned around and walked out of her office.  But I stayed, and answered her angry questions.  Since it was my first experience with therapy, I though perhaps that’s what therapists are like, and I should try it out for a while before I made any judgements.

As I was walking down the street on my way to my second appointment with The Cold Bitch, I suddenly doubled over in pain.  I knew what it was: a Round Ligament spasm.  The Round Ligament is part of the apparatus that holds up the uterus, and when the uterus is growing, it sometimes goes into a spasm that can be excruciating.  Mine was.

Since there were no cell phones at that time, I crawled the block back to my house–luckily it was only a block–and called The Icy Bitch to tell her that I was unable to arrive at her office because I couldn’t ambulate.  She scolded me for breaking the appointment–for ANY reason–and told me she would be sending me a bill.  I told her she was fired.

The next day, I did a more sensible thing and called up Student Mental Health, since I was a student.  They gave me an appointment with the most wonderful therapist I have ever had.  She explained to me that I am deeply wounded by the abuse I lived with as a child, and still lived with whenever I had anything to do with my mother.  She helped me immensely, and I stayed with her until I graduated from med school/grad school in 1987.  Leaving her felt like pulling a wisdom tooth without anesthesia.

After med school I started my residency, with a husband and two year old in tow.  The two year old was having trouble with his mom working 120 hours a week, which was standard in those days.  And the husband, who was emotionally a two year old (I have never been a good judge of character, but he had seemed very benign), was completely lost, as he suddenly became a single parent, essentially.  It took me two years to get him to go to therapy with me.  I told my husband that I felt we were having problems in our marriage; he asserted that I was the one with the problem.  It’s true that working 120 hours a week is very bad for bipolar disorder, which had not yet been diagnosed.  I had been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and was on medication for that, but it seemed to me that that made it even more important that we get couples counseling.  I had to choose between individual and couples counseling, because working 120 hours a week did not leave time for both.

So we went to the Ph.D. psychologist that Student Mental Health gave us.  She was a very strange one.  She dressed in low-cut, short dresses with dark stockings and high heels, not your usual professional attire; but I didn’t judge her on that.  She also had a love-seat instead of a chair, and no desk, and she sort of curled up on the love-seat during our sessions, which made my husband very uncomfortable because he became involuntarily aroused by this behavior, and to tell you the truth I did too.  I didn’t know what to think of it, myself, and tried to focus on what she was saying.

After a few months of this she announced that she felt our marriage was unsaveable.  I had been sure of that for quite some time, but it felt validating to hear her say it, even if she was a bit unconventional.  We stopped seeing her and tried to work things out on our own,  but the marriage eventually disintegrated.

Therapists came and went after that.  I experimented with my bisexual identity, and got a Lesbian therapist for a while, who completely confused me.  A succession of unmemorable ones followed.

Then in 1998, I moved to my present location (from which I have moved several times, but am now back due to filial duties) and over a three year period had a complete breakdown in slow motion.  I was in an insane relationship with another bipolar person at the time (I had been diagnosed, at last, and taking Lithium), and we were planning to get married because when things were good (meaning when we were both hypomanic at the same time), things were outrageously good, and we thought that we could weather the bad times.  But we wanted to get some premarital counseling so that we would be better equipped for our predictably rocky marriage.  I asked my shrink for a referral, and he sent us to B_, who specializes in couples counseling.

We had one session with her, and as we were walking out the door she asked if she could see me alone for a minute.  I stayed and she shut the door on A_.  She pulled herself up to her full four-feet-eleven and said, “I normally don’t do this, but I would like to see you individually.”  I made an appointment.

Predictably, the marriage plans did not work out (that’s another story), and I have continued to see B_ ever since.  That’s a long time.  All of this time I have been the good patient and spilled my guts weekly; but for some reason, for the past few months she has been pissing me off, and I have felt my PTSD kicking in, and dissociating.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  My conditioning as an abused child causes me to just want to run.  The thought of telling her how I am feeling about her makes my hair stand on end.  And yet, I know that’s exactly what I need to do: tell her that for some reason, suddenly she is pissing me off.  I just have to screw up the courage to do it, somehow.


Don’t Think About It

I’m just trying to buckle down and get some work done… and to not mull on whether or not I might have made one of the psychiatrists mad. My next appointment appears to be with the head guy, and he said nay to his comrade’s recommendation that I get checked for ADHD. And the recommendation went out anyways and got slapped down, so I’m hoping that all is well and that I didn’t do badly somehow (other than being crap at trying to explain my reasoning a second time). I think him a good doctor and I do respect his opinions — after all, I wouldn’t have my Bipolar II diagnosis without him looking at a different co-worker’s assessment and readily overturning it.

Part of me just wants to roll the dice and see if I can pick up a Dexedrine script anyways; I know, KNOW that would help with a lot of my residual issues… just not for good or legal reasons. I had a friend and school who was prescribed it for his narcolepsy, but it killed his appetite so thoroughly that he’d farm it out to those of us who needed the lift to not spend the first half of the school day face-down on a desk. I’m pretty sure no doctor would be pleased to find out such a method is how anyone knows a drug works for them. But then, I don’t really know either, seeing how I’m still new to being a patient all in all. And it’s not like I want any prescriptions to abuse — I just want a better quality of life that doesn’t rely so heavily on avoidance. I don’t think that’s too much to ask. Even taking the need and desire to kick back and recharge, I shouldn’t have to settle for spending my entire life in the fallout shelter.

Now shoosh little brain, don’t give into bipolar thinkery. *drags self back to working*

<3

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Primal scream

Every sound is like a thousand nails on a chalkboard. I want to scream at everyone and everything GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME!!! I have hives and a knotted stomach and of course, this was the day I went to pick my kid up from my mom’s and instead of a minor fit, she had a full blown tantrum because she didn’t want to stop playing and go home. She warbled, she screamed, she bawled, she kicked, she said, “You’re hurting me!” when I wasn’t even touching her. I try to ignore these tantrums rather than feed into them. Besides which, nothing I do works. And I don’t dare raise my voice or threaten her with no TV in front of my mom lest it start an unholy war.
Then my mom storms in and raises her voice and tells my kid it’s not nice to treat mommy like that and to straighten up. Which worked for all of five seconds. It amazes me that my sister and I cannot discipline our kids without her interfering yet if she wants to scream and lecture, it’s fine. I dread picking my kid up everyday. Between my mother and Spook’s tantrums, it just taps me the fuck out.
The tantrum continued off and on in the car…over…every…tiny…thing. I stopped at a red light. That made her cry. I took a drink of my soda. That made her cry. I mean, I get that she hasn’t napped and she’s tired and cranky but really. They don’t want you to talk on a cell phone while driving but has anyone ever contemplated how stressful and distracting it is to have a screaming kid in the back kicking seats and thrashing around?
I have become convinced my child is the spawn of satan.
This used to be an occasional occurrence, the really bad defiant days.Since being under my mother’s care and influence, Monday through Friday has become a fucking war zone. The only time I am in control (somewhat) of my own kid is on weekends. I have tried time outs, taking things away from her, praising her when she is good, sitting her on my lap and explaining why the behavior is unacceptable…Nothing works.
I am inept as a mother.
How could I possibly be competent when I am falling apart over every tiny sound and want to throttle everything around me that draws breath?
To top it all off, the cable company is apparently having issues or doing upgrades so their customers haven’t had internet in almost six hours. That made doing anything at the shop imfuckingpossible. Which added to my stress, him asking every two minutes if the net was back up and wanting to reset the router ten times. If it’s down, it’s down, dumbass. Fuck.
At least tomorrow will be a short day. My mom needs to run an errand at 1pm so I will go into the shop for a few hours and then be done. So I can do battle with my screaming demon again. How I love her, how she tickles me. She keeps telling me she lost her brain in the snow and has rats in her mouth. We get along pretty well…Until my mother’s interference.
And it could be the paranoid anxiety but I know my mom well and I can just bet she is on a tirade about how I “let” my kid get away with acting like a tyrant and I am not a very good mom and blah blah blah.
Then I got a message from the job lady wanting to confirm that I want to close my case looking for work for right now, like it’s some dire thing. I talked to my counselor, she saw that I am not doing well. What further clarification is needed? Let’s just stress the stressed out lady more.
OMG. The noise will not stop. My kid will not nap. The cats will not stop climbing on me. Normally I love the feeling of being so loved.
Right now…I just want to be unloved, uncrowded, unburdened by a cacophany of sounds that are making my inner ears cringe and my skin crawl. The entire daily dose of Tic-tac-o-pin is doing NOTHING to make it better. I’d settle for a little grogginess to take the edge off and it doesn’t even fucking doing that much.
Kill
me
now


Don’t Miss This!

Head on over to the M3 Blog where I am interviewing  the woman who does not know the meaning of the word can’t when it comes to making things happen [...]

Just Wondering…..

Tagged: bipolar mind, humor, life, Lizzie, Philosophy, random thoughts, running with scissors, Thought

Jetpack and Spoons (Two Tiny Things)

1. The Jetpack plug-in for self-hosted WordPress blogs finally has one of my favorite features from WordPress-hosted blogs — the like button! So yanno, show me some love, people. *winks*

2.The Spoon Theory: I was reminded that I’ve not shared the link to it in some time, so please — check it out:

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

soup-spoons

The Spoon Theory is one of the most cogent explanations of life with an invisible illness, whether it be a physical condition or mental illness. To that end, it is very worthwhile to share it once in a grand while. I’m sort of sheepish that I was so slow in finding it, considering that one of my best friends had been referring to it for years. And while I am sure that it cannot enlighten the mind of those who have no desire to have a deeper understanding of their brother/sister folk, I think it’s a useful thing for those who want to know, but know they cannot truly put themselves into a sufferer’s shoes.

Past that, I’m just sort of drained. My body has been unkindly to me this month in both illness and in being a lady-person, and I’m just sort of grateful that my mind has been quiet enough that I’ve not been fixating and dwelling overly on it. Instead it’s wanted to dust things and line them up in a straight manner, for which I am especially grateful my mother-in-law didn’t start tutting at me for; she takes these actions kind of heavily. No dear, it is not a comment on your cleanliness, it’s just the bipolar wanting something to freak out about. And yanno, she’s always welcome to come clean my house, ha ha.

Anyways.

<3

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The Witching Hour

Sometimes, I just don’t have a good title for my posts. So I will just pick a line from whatever song is playing when I start writing. In this case it is from a song called “Alibi” by 30 Seconds To Mars. Awesome song.

My anxiety is off the fucking charts. For some reason, the trailer park has been a cacophony of yapping dogs all night. It’s not really the norm, but it’s managed to drown out my music and that irks me. It irks me more that I am having so much anxiety anyway due to Tic-tac-o-pin being utterly useless. Throw the stressor of noise in and I’m just like peeling my own skin off.

The sunshine spewer said yesterday I need to call the shrink’s office and get an earlier appointment and explain how little the Klonopin is doing and ask for my xanax back. Which is odd because when I first started seeing her, she preached the evils of Xanax and how it’s only a short term medication. Perhaps she saw how wired I was and rethought her position? I am toughing it out, giving the Klonopin a real chance, before my next dr appointment. Thanks to a bunch of assholes abusing xanax, I feel like a fucking junkie asking for it. It’s just the only thing that works for my panic and anxiety, ffs.

The day was…icky. Cold and rainy and snowy. My mood was sort of off. I did not want to be at the shop. I did not want to do much of anything but stay home and work on my story. I am revamping it again (cute pun, considering it is a vampire novel) and if you don’t go when the creative urge is there, you risk losing it. Thankfully I did not lose it, but the fear is like a cloud looming overhead. Reality intruding upon my elusive creative juices is icky. Everything is icky.

I was just glad to come home.

Until of course the dog symphony became an issue.

Around 7 PM I began to feel panicky because I wasn’t in bed yet. I am still not sure what that is about, why I feel this overwhelming need to be safely ensconced in my bedroom by 7pm, or 8pm at the latest. I am trying to retrain my brain but the anxiety does not give a fuck. It does what it does.

I am also feeling extra panic because using the laptop for too long and feeling how warm it gets makes me paranoid that I am going to destroy it by using it.

This is not an optimal state to be in. It was not this bad a few weeks ago, at least not with the extreme paranoia and fear causing the panic. Generalized anxiety my ass, this is psychotic anxiety.

My mom went off on me again this morning. They canceled school supposedly because the weather was too bad and she was mad I didn’t stay home today. Um, it was 35 and doing nothing outside when I left, all the snow was turning to slush. Still scratching my head on that one. I should stay in because the weather *might* be bad? So I don’t have to leave the house from November til March since i live in the midwest and the weather *might* always be bad during those months? COOL.

My mom is a nutbar,

My gut is in a stress pretzel knot. I think it may be time to go to bed if only to escape that part of the anxiety. And I hear the damn clock ticking (metaphorically) reminding me it’s getting closer to time to having to do it all over again. Dealing with people has become ten times harder in the last three weeks. I wonder why. I feel like I have a target painted on my back and everyone is a damn sniper. I believe the clinical term is decompensation.

Tic-tac-o-pin works for me as well as hooked on phonics works for rednecks.

Git r done.

Fuck

me.


On Gaming

I’m bemused that even thinking about trying to explain this fatigues my poor bipolar brain… ah well. Hopefully I can hit a few of the key points!

Firstly, I’ve been a gamer since I was 3 or 4. I remember waking up before everyone else to play Atari during G.I. Joe (as my parents didn’t permit me to watch it for some reason that I cannot recall). I had a crush on Link as a little girl, and used to tug my ears to try to make them pointier so I could go to Hyrule and adventure with him. I had a Nintendo Power subscription, a Game Boy, the works. It broke my heart when Nintendo moved away from real gamers to casual gamers, because it was not a road I could follow them on anymore (not to denigrate casual gaming; I tried to stay loyal to my first console love and got dumped). PC gaming and I started our love affair in the early 90s with Wolfenstein 3D and the first Civilization, and continues to be a vital part of my daily life.

In short – I love games, and they love me. But I came to a realization lately — they are filling the gap where most people would say… climb mountains and achieve things. That isn’t to lament lost time, ’cause it has been time well spent and well enjoyed. It has helped to keep me sane over the past 17 years of questionable health, both mental (bipolar) and physical (???).

You see, I take commitments very seriously. If I say I am going to do something, I expect myself to do it and do it well. So while there are people who were impressed with me finishing NaNoWriMo, I only even gave it a go because I knew it was within my abilities and spoonage to pull it off… or at least, strongly suspected it was going to be possible, a high enough chance to warrant giving it a go. But for the most part, I cannot and have not been able to count on my brain with its bipolar or my body with its… whatever the hell… to hold together for any meaningful commitment to a task. Gaming, even the open-ended sort I prefer, gives a steady sense of minor accomplishment; I might not get the endorphin buzz off of it, but it’s something to fill my time that feels vaguely productive and vaguely fun.

Anyways, it’s better than drinking and doing drugs, ha ha. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t try to get out of the house and try new things and meet new people. I’m just grateful that it’s something that helps me cope. And as I said yesterday, coping -is- the name of the game.

<3

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Poison Rain- a post about bipolar, panic, and self loathing

It’s 4:37 am. I woke up at 4 am to the sound of pounding rain and wind. The first thing that popped into my head were the words “poison rain”. I LOVE rain. Hell, my daughter’s middle name is Rain. But there’s a difference between types of rain. Warm summer rain is blissful. Cold winter rain is harsh. Poisonous. It chills you to the bone and erodes at the warmth.

Bipolar and panic are the same way.

When manic or in a neutral holding patter, being bipolar isn’t all that bad. Like a warm rain, it makes you feel hopeful and good and you can almost harness happiness like catching a drop of rain in your palm.

A functional panic can be your body’s way of warning you to be more careful, more wary, it can signify nervous anxiety for something new that is not entirely a bad thing.

Flipside….

Bipolar in its depressive or coming unhinged state…pure poison rain.

Panic in its most extreme, when the world around you begins to spin, and every fight or flight instinct your reptilian brain possesses all start firing at the same time for not legitimate reason…poison rain.

I am feeling the poison rain vibe today.

Yesterday was…Eh. I managed to fall on the snow and bruise a knee, then I sat down in a chair and bashed the back of my head, leaving a goose egg. I was not born with patience or an inherent grace.

The session with the counselor was more productive than usual. Upon learning of every shitty thing that’s happened in the last two months, she actually asked if I felt I was ready for work and if maybe I shouldn’t postpone the job search for awhile. That gave me a little breathing room. As did her not laughing at me or mocking me or berating me. Because I was fully prepared to just out and out tell her I was ready to quit therapy.

The shop was busy. He went out on a house call and I dealt with six customers in an hour. For that place, that is a whirlwind of activity. I liked being kept busy, but the panic was pretty harsh. When the walls feel like they are closing in and I can’t catch my breath…That’s a fleeing from the scene of the crime situation. It makes me very uneasy. I came home with a stomach ache from the stress.

It took a lot out of me. I was in bed before 8 pm.

Now…I am cold and the rain makes me feel colder and it just feels like it’s gonna be a poison day. I don’t want to go out in this shit. I don’t want to force myself into a shower then have to spend a half hour under a blanket getting my body temperature back up. I don’t want to deal with the laundry piling up and having to drag it out.

What I want to do is take a mental health day.

I won’t, but I want to.

I must tread carefully, though. On poison rain days, the ones inside my head, I run a high risk of a meltdown into tears or a fight or flight induced panic that results in me cursing and shrieking.

I told sunshine spewer that is something I want to work on. Keeping my cool in public. Let me melt down in private if I must, but I have got to learn to keep it together in front of others. Showing weakness to the kind of people I know is only arming them, sad statement that it is.

I also want to learn how to cut myself some fucking slack.

Because part of what makes the poison rain depression so much worse is the fact that I loathe myself so much for a lot of things that aren’t my fault. I didn’t ask for the bipolar and panic, and yet, I take absolute responsibility for it like it was a choice. And my own inability to kick its ass and come out on top make me hate myself and think my kid would be better off without a loser like me for a mom.

Gotta find a way to stop thinking that way. Gotta stop invalidating myself.

Really gotta get a heavy duty umbrella to withstand the torrential poison rains my own mind lets loose on me.


I wont leave you all

I know I am slack with posting these days but it doesn’t mean I am not thinking about it. Every small accomplishment I make reminds me that I am right now a whole person. Living life with my man and my dog, family, friends, and this monkey on my back called bipolar disorder. Life is good. 🙂

I am in such a good place that my man and I are having a ball. On a whim I suggested we go to The Bass Pro Shop (we have never been) because Patrick wants to start fly fishing. Oh what a wonderful past time to have….I mean, have you ever seen a fly fisherman hanging out in an ugly location? But anyhow, here was a small miracle.

Are you ready….

We went to a new store, a HUGE store, and stayed for over an hour. I talked to new people, watched strangers pass by, and I hadn’t taken anxiety medicine AND no panic ever set in. Therapy and medicine help but also I am just in a good place. Okay so medicine plays a huge part in this. My mood stabilizer and anti psychotics along with an anti depressant are something I can’t live without. And you know what? I am at peace with that… for the moment.