Daily Archives: February 28, 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*


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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.