Thursday, April 30, 2009

I desperately need this week to end!

It's been a long time since I have struggled this much in a week. I feel so fragile. I don't know how to let myself exist. The little girls inside of me are angry, hurt, sad, abused~ I don't know how to comfort them. I am exhausted from their constant mantra. I have had a migraine for 3 days. I went to an "emergency" session w/dear therapist (which she was nice to accommodate on an hour notice)...but it didn't seem to help at all. I was so desperate last night. Screaming inside my head ~ I actually went outside, ran down the street in the darkness...away from 'suburbia' and just screamed into the night until I couldn't scream anymore.
I needed DT so badly last night - but she wasn't here. I called her this morning, made an appointment for tomorrow, but I don't even know why. Nothing helps this week, I cannot console them.

Little Gracie desperately wants someone to comfort her.
I don't know how.
She begs, "Someone put their arms around me, please, make me feel comfort, safety. I want someone to wrap their arms around me and wipe away my tears. Hold me close, gently touch my hair and whisper "everything will be alright". Put a band aid on my heart and another on my soul. And promise to help me clean the wound every day until it heals. And when a scar forms, please help me to learn to see it, to touch accept it. And please...ask me to talk about it."

I don't know how to help her ~ and the other girls...I need it to stop.

I need this week to end. I need to find hope again. I can't see it now...

Monday, April 27, 2009

I Fold

I cannot even begin to express the feelings of loneliness I have right now!
I feel like it's me all alone in this world, trying to find my way through this hell with no map, no compass.
No one understands. Even tonight, Dear Husband said, "I'm going to bed, you're in a bad mood."


My voice echoes I'm so alone.

Sometimes I feel like I'm already dead and this is "hell".

I wish someone, anyone could understand! But no one does. I'm not "allowed" to have feelings that go against what society thinks I should feel. And I'm exhausted all the time trying to keep the lid on the box...holding it on tightly so it doesn't explode.

I don't want to play anymore...not w/DBTC, PDOC or DT.
I just want to stop. I need it all to stop.
And I need to to stop now.
I fold!
*Grace gets up from the table, leaves her chips behind and walks away*

I LOVE DBT and Marsha is a GENIUS! (I would totally drink the kool-aid if she offered it to me!)

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH! CLOSE YOUR EYES! IT'S BURNING!!!!!!!!!!!! Quick! Someone pour some water on her to see if she melts! She won't leave, I've already hidden her broomstick!

That, my friends is opposite emotion. I'm so happy I learned that because I am BATHED in relief now!
But truly, someone could have just told me that DBT is "fake it till you feel it" therapy, it would have saved me a lot of time, energy and money.

See, you have to 'change' the emotions you don't 'want'. Just change them. If you're angry, then do the opposite. If you're sad, get dressed and get the hell out of your house!

See, everyone has a reason for doing something. And you should 'walk a mile in their shoes' so you can understand. Um...there's nothing to understand about a man who fucks children!
"Well, maybe he's crazy" - So the fuck what! I don't care! That doesn't make me less angry!
Apparently I'm failing this fucking class because I leave pissed off even if I arrive as suzi sunshine! Yes, I should be able to "step" into a pedophile/rapists shoes because then I'd be able to understand why they do what they do. And they do have a reason."We" just don't know what that reason is.

Yeah- well I had a "reason" for my self destructive behavior and escape from reality- but no one put themselves in my fucking shoes- I just get told to shut up and behave! I fucking hate all of it! Yes, her program works so well- I arrived at class tonight calm and relaxed - and when I left, I wanted to drive my car right into the rocky mountains!

Yes, the borderline is out of control again! Go figure! Too bad she didn't practice opposite emotion. *tsk, tsk* You know, she's starting to question things again, express her feelings, it must be time for a "medication adjustment" - or perhaps add abilify- that seems to be the "cure all" drug of the year! The 'prozac' of 2009.

Perhaps Marsha would like to walk a mile in my shoes, so she can feel what it's like to be a 5 year old and be ripped apart while a grown man (a man you should trust, feel safe with, a man who is your father) fucks you. I'll get a pair of heels out of the closet right now and set them out for her.

Stop on by, Marsha, I'll be here..."mindfully" awaiting your arrival!
Perhaps we can share some chamomile tea and you can borrow one of my hair barrettes. And then if we have time, we can go get your hair cut...and maybe a facial for you...cause DAMN! How about you take some time to "mindfully" attend to your appearance!

Lighten up, Marsha - it was just a joke! I was practicing "opposite emotion".
I feel hate for you and I wanted to call you the "C" word ~ but instead, I nicely offer to take you out for a makeover. How skillful am I? Your star pupil!

Oh, and Marsha, I want to make every effort to accommodate you when you're taking that mile hike in my heels. Let me know if you prefer: red, black, brown, gray...spiked or block, open ot close toed...patent leather is an option, but not in the brown. Oh ~ and I wear size 7- I hope that's okay with you.

And after your hike as *Grace,* I'd love to hear all about it ~ So if you could mindfully prepare a 'white' page (not a thesis - I know how theoretical you can be) I prefer logic (the real thing, not the opposite), and 300 words or less - I am NOT a dialectician, nor do I play one on TV, like you do. Tonight, Marsha-baby, we are playing by my rules. I "strongly encourage" you to have this report on my desk by end of day Friday.

*Half-Smile* to you, Sister Linehan.

Wisemindfully yours,
~ Grace

OOPS! It's opposite emotion day! How about "not a wise thought going through my crazy mind tonight" ~ Yes, that seems like a better fit...

Sunday, April 26, 2009's always "Hopeless" here at the Haven!

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to the unparalleled, legendary Hopeless Haven Hotel. We are well known in the U.S, in fact several celebrities, including Drew Berrymore, Lorraine Bracco, Mike Wallace and even Marilyn Monroe have vacationed here! We are so glad you have arrived and we have your reservation right here. Here at the Haven, we offer only the best to our guests, in terms of amenities at our elite hotel. I see you qualify for our exclusive “Multiple Disorder Discount”. The MDD is a limited benefit that is not offered at our sister hotel, the Impulsive Inn.

You have been upgraded from the Shameful Suites to the Borderline Bungalows, which are typically booked solid, but lucky for you, a room just became available when a guest abruptly left the hotel. Apparently she felt abandoned when her room service order didn’t arrive on time. It’s difficult to predict these departures due to the clientele we cater too, no offense. All of our guests have come here with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, loneliness, shame and extreme despair. And, during your stay, if you find yourself feeling positive or upbeat, don’t worry, our staff has been certified in depreciation coaching, and are always willing to help you reclaim your misery by pointing out the worst in you.

How long will you be staying with us? Never mind, that’s not a decision you need to make now, you must be exhausted and depressed, let me give you the VIP tour and then you can settle in your Bungalow.

Here we are at our first stop, the Borderline Bungalows. As you can see each room is custom designed to fit the needs of our guests. We keep the rooms at 60 degrees, year round, and the bright lighting was specially designed to intensify migraine, or cluster, headaches. Set your bag down, feel free to look around. I think you’ll find that our decorator took all of your *special* needs into account. The mirrors are like a kaleidoscope, I guarantee you that when you look into one of our mirrors you won’t even recognize yourself! Take a minute to feel the sheets ~ only the finest for our guests! We special order them from Tool King, 400 grit sandpaper…wait until you ease yourself into these sheets tonight for 3 hours of sleep! We haven’t overlooked a thing! Oh, before I forget, we do offer turn-down service for our guests. Just press 9 on your phone, and when you get to your room, you’ll find your bed turned down and an assortment of ambien, lunesta, seroquel and rozerem on your pillow. If you suffer from suicidal thoughts, please inform the front desk when requesting our service, as the hotel will not accept responsibility should you decide to ‘check out early’. We also offer wake-up call service, which will remind you in the morning of your worthlessness and shame. Next to the coffee maker we offer an assortment of diet pills and laxatives, including effedra and fen-phen.

Right out these doors is our pool and exercise center. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and feel free to work out anytime, and for as long as you want! Our staff personal trainers are available to you free of charge and are excellent motivators for our guests. They will brazenly point our your flaws, call you fat and lazy, and throw Twinkies and candy bars every 15 minutes….just to keep the motivation going, of course. Each machine is also equipped with individual screens, what we like to call our ‘special demoralizers’, and as an added boost of motivation, feature slide shows of women much more fit and toned than our clients. Check them out, not a scar on any of these women, aren’t they beautiful? We also feature a fully stocked fridge, complete with flavored water. Try one…we have Suicidal Strawberry, BPD Berry (my personal favorite), Manic Mandarin, Bipolar Banana and Mental Mango. After your draining and humiliating workout, take a soak in our super-heated hot tub. The temperature is kept at 110 degrees, and is guaranteed to boost your core temperature to that of a normal, living human being.

Let’s head off to the world famous cocktail bar, “Drunk’s Dream”. Here at Drunk’s Dream, it’s un-happy hour 24 hours a day. The bar is very popular as most of our guest’s prefer to escape their miserable reality. Our bartenders can whip up any drink you desire, and are made with the finest alcohol. Drink specials include: Crying Cosmo, Morbid Mojito, Borderline Beer and Anorexic Amaretto (calorie free, of course). And our famous after dinner drink, PTSD Port. Drink alone in our Cry Café, or mingle with our other guests at the Depression Disco Lounge. We offer pool, dancing, and a variety of other activities for our guests to get to know each other, ‘intimately’. And should you find yourself drunk and/or drugged and lured into another guests room, our 24 hour video surveillance will alert our escorts, and we will make certain you are gently returned to your own room to avoid that uncomfortable ‘how the hell did I get here?’ embarrassing moment that our guests are all familiar with.

To the left of “Drunk’s Dream” is our ‘Manic-Massage’ parlor ~ if you find yourself dissociative and in a manic state, our Masseuse will relax you back into your body so you can be hyper-conscious for the series of humiliations you are sure to encounter during your stay here at the Haven.

Behind the Gold Doors is our famous on-site restaurant, “To eat, or Not to eat…that is the question”, or TENET for short. The restaurant is divided into two sections, to accommodate all guests. You can eat until you puke at our all you can eat buffet , or ‘pretend’ to eat in our “Not to Eat” section, where we offer a selection of celery, fresh spinach, baby carrots and sliced apples, preservative free, for those guests who are concerned about what (not who) they put into their bodies. And for those days when you can’t bear the thought of getting out of bed, we offer 24 hour room service. Don’t despair; we will never abandon our guests! We are very flexible, and make every effort to meet your every need.

We also have a gift shop for your convenience. As a member of our “Multiple Disorder Discount” club, you receive a 30% discount at our “One-Stop Shop”, between the hours of midnight and 3am. Our gift shop stocks a variety of products that have proven useful to our disordered guests and you can buy anything from razor blades to condoms ~ we never judge our guests for their promiscuity. However, we do try to accommodate those who may have lax morals, and leave the bar with enough wits to protect themselves, if you’re picking up what I’m laying down. We certainly don’t want you leaving here with more than you came with. And should you find yourself in a compromising position without protection, take a breather, and call our front desk. By the time you finish your cigarette, our staff will deliver the requested supplies right to your room. Free of charge! Like most of our services, our gift shop is open 24 hours a day.

Well, that concludes the tour of the Haven. I hope you’ll be comfortable here, well, as comfortable as you mental patients get, no offense. I’ll have the Concierge show you to your room. No worries on a ‘check-out’ date. Planned or unplanned departure – now that you’re here, feel free to stay as long as you like. Frequently, our guests never want to leave.

I hope you’ll find that here at the Hopeless Haven, we do everything to we can to accommodate our guests and live up to our name. If you need anything, please do not hesitate to call the desk…we will do our best to be available until 10PM each night. If we are busy and unable to answer your call, please remember that it isn’t because you don’t matter. Feel free to leave a message, speaking clearly and stating your needs. If you call after 10PM, availability willing, we will do our best to call you back within the next 24 hours. If your call is an emergency, you can dial 911 (we have already alerted them of your check-in), or drink a lot of booze fast, or take the pills our turn-down staff left on your pillow and relax and remember: the pain won’t last forever. Just until the booze or drugs kick in!

Here at the Haven, we accept however you decide to ‘deal with your pain’~ and will do our best to be present for you, except of course when you need us the most!

And remember, it’s always “Hopeless” here at the Haven…

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Postcard from Hopeless Haven Camp

I arrived at “Hopeless Haven” camp today!

I’m so happy my parents sent me to this dark and dreary place!

I just arrived – my flight was late taking off…apparently we were waiting for a few straggling personalities to arrive…and, as it turns out, the machine that destroys luggage was broken, so they were doing it manually - which always takes longer. The in-flight movie was "Girl Interrupted"~ I decided against that - already living that dream - don't need to watch it on the big-screen Very turbulent flight but Captain Crash was able to land the plane and once the smoke cleared from the screeching brakes he taxied what was left of the plane to the gate and we all climbed our way out of the wreckage and into the terminal - which was littered with signs of doom and gloom!

Here are a few posters, just to give you a 'flavor':
"In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o'clock in the morning, day after day."

"The secret source of humor itself is not joy, but sorrow. There is no humor in heaven."

"To perceive is to suffer"

"Have a nice day"~ it cures chronic depression!

After walking for what seemed like 10 miles, I finally made it to the monorail~ only to see this sign: “If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.”
But it was a short shuttle ride to Hopeless Haven, and I was pleased to see that I arrived just in time for “UN-Happy Hour”!

Featured drinks are 2 for 1 and the offerings were extensive, and included:

Crying Cosmopolitan
Morbid Mojito
Solitary Whiskey Sour
Borderline Amber Beer
Depressive Daiquiri
Compulsive Pina Colada (with Coconut Rum)
Bailey’s Bipolar Irish Cream
Anorexic Amaretto (calorie free, of course)
Bulimic Brandy (w/an extra long stir stick for ‘after’)

It is so dark and cold at the Haven...more about that after a few Crying won’t seem so bad….

More later....


Angel Flying too Close to the Ground

Let the water fall, let it rain,
Come and wash away the pain.
Let the weather rage into sweet delight,
Make me feel like I want to fight.

Let the skies be filled with darkness and thunder,
Make them think, make them wonder.
Make me feel like all I need is the light,
Make me feel like they're wrong, I'm right.

Let the rain touch my skin,
And reveal all that I hide within.
Make me feel, make me cry,
Reveal the beast, I don't want to die.

The beast will eat me, it growls inside,
A beast made of secrets, all that I hide.
Make me speak words of truth,
Make me forget my past, my youth.

Make it rain, just let it come,
Show me what I want to become.
Let the sky growl hungry, let it roar,
Make me feel like I can take even more.

Make the sky let it go,
Make me sure, make me know.
Make me forget all that I don't need,
Make me feel, make me bleed.

All the things I don't want to remember,
Let it burn away in burning ember.
Make the water put the fire out,
Make me scream, make me shout.

Let me see that little glimpse in the sky,
Make me know, never wonder why.
Give me that inspiration that comes from above,
Give me the strength to believe in love

Friday, April 24, 2009

The little girl who lives inside...

Looking at a photo of myself as a child
Makes me what to run and hide
I still feel shame when I look into those eyes
The little me in the frame, I still hear her cries
My stomach pangs with sadness and guilt
And like a dying flower, I feel her pain, and I wilt
Time passed on, 20 years and more
And although I am no longer 4
I still feel the pain just like before
The little girl in the frame still lives inside
Fighting to come out from where she hides
I know I need to fight for her so she can be free
I need to fight for her because she is part of me
I need to stand up for myself so we can let the past be
Inner peace is what we both need to see
But I feel so depressed and I don't know how to heal
Sadness and pain is all I can feel
I wish the pain within this little girl would cease
I touch her face and I wish her peace

Emotion Regulation ~ Know Your Number...It could save your life!

The emotion regulation number, which can only be found in the ‘official DBT manual’, is a number between zero and 100 that represents the ideal number when the sympathetic and parasympathetic sides of your nervous system collide. In order to maintain the synthesis (or in DBT terms ~ the “dialectic”) between the two it is important to be aware of your number and at what point your frontal lobe stops working and you enter ‘fight or flight’ mode. Keep in mind that this number differs by individual.

Most of you know what I mean by ‘fight/flight’ mode. This is where your heart rate increases, as do your respiration and blood pressure, your pupils dilate and you may find yourself sweating and nauseous. It is at this point many mental patients will disassociate and enter into self destructive mode which has and can result in behavior that is frowned upon by the MHPs. Some examples include: excessive drinking, self harm (cutting/burning), suicidal thoughts, drunk dialing or emailing, or a variety of other behaviors *cough cough* that are inappropriate in the normalcy of society.

For example, if you awake to find yourself on the cold bathroom tiled floor with a razor blade loosely gripped in one hand, an empty bottle of scotch and surrounded by blood, with no recollection of what happened, you neglected to recognize your number. You missed your chance to regulate your emotions and avoid self destructive behavior (behavior that could send you straight to the loony bin should your T become aware!). Especially if you review your email/text messaging and find that your play by play has been ‘officially’ recorded.

Do you feel like your life is unmanageable? (If not to you, to a close friend, partner, perhaps a trusted member of the MHP family?) Do you find yourself with more external than internal scars? Do you suffer from body memories, flashbacks from the past and a general sense of feeling ‘unsafe’?

If you answered yes to even one of the above questions, Emotion regulation is for you!
Your day, your emotion regulation number~ you get to decide: Your ideal emotion regulation number accounts for your individual acceptance of your past and your ability to keep yourself safe. By recognizing your number, you’ll find yourself feeling much more in control of yourself and your emotions. By recognizing this number you will know when you reach the point where you must utilize the skills you have learned in DBT class to regulate your own emotions, or reach out to a friend, a crisis hot line, or your own dear therapist (on the later, it must be before 10) but there are some 24 hours crisis lines….and of course the ER is always open 24/7.

SOME TESTIMONIALS for our 24 week program:

I suffered for years with self-destructive behavior and one night during a bout of insomnia, I saw the commercial for the ‘emotion regulation’ program and I thought, “Why not!?”. It was only a 24 week commitment and around $2000.00 ~ so what did I have to lose? I admit that my life was unmanageable before ‘emotion regulation’ but due to the constant flashbacks and body sensations I was having, I wasn’t able to exit fight/flight mode long enough to be rational. Now, I’m a cynical person, but I tried this program and it worked! I now know that I must pop in an Adam Sandler video when I start to feel anxious. I endorse the program 100%!
I’m a 52 ~ Molly (PTSD, clinical depression, general anxiety disorder)

WOW! A friend of mine told me about the ‘emotion regulation’ program and I tried it…and I had complete relief 24 weeks. It works THAT FAST! It has changed my life! I now keep a list of ‘emotion regulating’ suggestions in my back pocket and if my heart rate gets above 70, I whip that list out and within 10 minutes I’m ‘grounded’.
I’m a 49 ~ Trisha (Depression/Anxiety)

I have suffered from self destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts for years! I thought I went from 0-95 in 2 minutes! But now that I have ‘emotion regulation’ I realize that I must call a friend, or a crisis hot line BEFORE I take out the razor! I am proof that this program works! I have chamomile tea bags all over the house and when I feel my father’s body invading mine, I just whip out a tea bag, heat some water….and just like that – I am back down under 50. Thank you Marsha for marketing this program. It is truly a lifesaver! I haven't been arrested once since completing this program!
I’m a 63 ~ Amelia (PTSD, CSA survivor, ED, SIB, SI, ETOH abuse)

I tried to kill myself 3 times and my therapist recommended the ‘emotion regulation’ program. Now when I feel my depression overtaking me, and I want to swallow 100 sleeping pills, I just take out a meditation CD and do some stretches, while burning ‘relaxing’ incense. I have been on this program for nearly a year and I have not been forced into IP once since beginning the program. It works!
I’m a 68 ~ Lisa (depression, DID, SI, SIB)

Before I tried ‘emotion regulation’ my ‘emotional reaction would disrupt my cognitive processing and I was unable to self-soothe. I was in a continuous heightened state of arousal. My emotions were out of control and I was unable to tolerate distress. I ran from relationship to relationship, slept with more men than I can count, and spent my annual salary x2 in 4 months! And what did I have to show for it? 2 STDs, an unwanted pregnancy, credit card debt that I wasn’t able to pay, and loneliness and self-loathing… But NO MORE! Now I am able to identify my emotions before they become out of control and I end up in bed with some ogre only to hate myself in the morning. I am ‘emotionally regulated’ and it feels invigorating! I only wish I had known about this program before!
I’m a 76 ~ Lynn (BPD, depression, bi-polar)

Try our 24 week emotion regulation program today…if it doesn’t save you at least 1 emergency room visit, 10 bucks on band-aids, a ruptured esophagus, and 10 calls a week to a therapist or a crisis hot line…we’ll gladly refund your money! Order now and we’ll throw in a 4 ounce bottle of scar reducing cream and you’ll be wearing short sleeves by summer without embarrassing questions about your scars!


Thursday, April 23, 2009

A storm is gonna come...

The storm clouds have been hovering all day and now the darkness has closed in. The dark portentous clouds that have been looming ominously overhead have finally rolled in with the force of a category 4 hurricane. My body no longer feels like it belongs to me. Even little things are such an effort. I feel ravaged by the torrential rain and devastating winds of the hurricane.

The burly winds have destroyed lawn furniture and sent backyard grills reeling from decks and porches – they have scattered tumbleweeds across the plains ~ the ability to keep your eyes open in the midst of the flying dirt and dust has diminished. I am blowing in the wind…tossed like the tumbleweeds. I am constantly fighting the winds of depression, fear, sadness, hopelessness and tonight my overwhelming feelings are a force to be reckoned with!

Sleep fails to bring relief ~ the darkness invades my sleep, my dreams….I fight sleep – fear it, even. And when I do sleep, dear husband tells me I talk and moan, thrash around and whimper frequently. I wake up multiple times a night from a nightmare only to find a broken compass and an inability to navigate myself from the past back to the present.

So much of it is irrational – and the small, logical voice inside of me tells me that – but the logical part of me cannot overpower, or balance, the other irrational, illogical voices of the terrified children trapped inside my mind and my body. I know I'm not in control. All the drive and spirit and determination that made me *ME* has been drained from me and most of the time I just feel like a rag doll….just do with me what you will…I'll just wait here.

And I have these horrible thoughts…what if I took a few extra sleeping pills, anxiety med…maybe chase them down with the vodka in the freezer…..

It's not about suicide….although I'll admit I have fleeting thoughts that death would be easier on everyone around me who suffer with me, despite my trying to keep it all inside of me. But it isn't about suicide – it's about making it stop! And I know that sounds sick and perhaps like the mind of my mother – someone I certainly NEVER want to be….

I have always been strong, a fighter! Always! And certainly I've been through worse than this…… But I hate this! I hate the panicky feeling when I wake up from a nightmare and I'm in a state of half-consciousness. I hate the overwhelming feelings of rage that make me lash out at those undeserving and sometimes unsuspecting souls. I hate the external scars I've inflicted upon myself. I hate that I have these overwhelming urges to hurt myself and I sometimes act on those urges and then suffer the feelings of guilt and shame that come afterward. I hate that I've given them my joy and that means they win! I hate feeling and acting like a child! I hate the memories, and the crying and all of the feelings, feelings, feelings!!!!!!! I hate it! All of it!

I feel like I'm going crazy. I'm in such a state of darkness tonight and I need something to renew my courage, to get back my determination and drive. I had 8 good days…8! And it was a good 8 days…and now I feel like my body and mind have been taken over by a poltergeist! It’s all fear & darkness now.

There is thunder, and wind and lightening and hail raging in my head and I'm caught in this storm with no protection, no umbrella, no coat or boots.

I'm not writing this as some psycho irrational woman getting ready to climb to the top of the empire state building and jump off – so please don't think I need to be committed to some psych ward. I'm writing because this is how I feel right now. This is my struggle, my journey through the rocky terrain.

There are no valleys without hills, and I've hit a landslide. I can't talk to my friends about this, or dear husband, I can't face the looks of fear, or pity, or concern, or maybe even anger and rage. I just can't. I just need to figure out how to find my way back to the land of the living. I want to feel the warmth of the sun again, see the brightness – feel the heat. I want to sleep 8 hours without fear and panic. I want to feel safe again. I want to get through a weekend without completely losing my mind. And I'm not sure how to do that, or if I even have the strength.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Courage ~ for those who are suffering now, in the 'present'

Take with you tonight
The courage you have that I can see
Gather about yourself
The hearts of those who care
And bring with you tonight
The strength you have that I can see
And let tonight's journey
That healing task
Give you meaning
Give you an addition
To the courage you have that I can see
Let it bolster your 'self'
Give to your heart
And add to the strength you have that I can see
And if the need shall arise
I will not say, 'do not cry'
For not all tears are evil
Let the tears wash away
Your fears
Your hurts
Let the tears cleanse your soul
That perfect piece of you
That I can see
~ Grace

Monday, April 20, 2009

Preservatives Kill!!

I have an *clear throat before whispering* eating disorder…there, it’s out there, I said it. First step, right?
Food and I have a love/hate relationship. I love to hate myself and when I do, food does not ‘comfort’ me. Some people live to eat and I am not one of those people. It is a constant struggle…there are days when I’m able to eat and there are days when I cannot face food, days when the thought of eating makes me nauseous. On days I feel really depressed (like reach UP to touch bottom depressed) and showers of self hate are raining down on Grace ~ I don’t eat because food is nourishment and I don’t deserve it. Realizing this is just an ‘underlying’ symptom of an even larger problem (a branch off the tree, so to speak) I try to compromise as best I can with PDOC and nutrition to ensure I don’t starve myself to death.

My last appointment went something like this, well, the part of the conversation where "ED" was discussed:
PDOC: Grace, how’s the eating going?
Grace: Um… food ~ I can take it or leave it.
PDOC: What are you ‘taking’ and what are you ‘leaving’? Remember, the intensive out-patient program at LaLuna is still an option, and one I strongly suggest we 'explore' again.
Grace: I really don’t think that’s necessary. I eat...mostly fruit. Apples, grapes…the occasional blueberry.
PDOC: What about protein?
Grace: Well, I can’t really eat meat – I’m sure it’s a phase, but the texture and thought of eating meat grosses me out.
PDOC: What about peanut butter then. Can you eat peanut butter with the apples?
Grace: I think that’s a compromise I can live with. I’ll give it a try, thank you for the suggestion.

Each morning, I take a zip lock bag of sliced apples to work. And each evening I bring the leftover apples home and put them in the fridge and the next day, I take the apples out again and carry them to work again…and each day I repeat this process (I’m very predictable)
I tell you that to tell you this: I’m sitting in my car waiting for DBT class to begin, and DBT friend rides by on her bike, stops beside my door, looks in the car, sees the bag of apple slices and says, “What is that?” To which I reply, “apples”. She asks if I buy them already sliced and I confirm that I do. I thought the conversation was headed to the ‘wow you’re really lazy if you can't slice your own apples' arena…but I was wrong.
DBT friend said frantically, “Do you realize how many preservatives are in the pre-sliced apples???”
I reply, “No, but since I can take the same bag of apples back and forth to work for 4 days before they become slimy, I’m guessing a lot!”
DBT friend says with concern, “You really should buy ‘organic’ fruit. It’s the healthiest and there are no preservatives.

I laughed out loud! Um…considering we’re both in a class to learn to ‘regulate’ our emotions and learn ‘distress tolerance’ skills in order to maintain some sense of normalcy in the midst of society as a whole…the entire topic of ‘preservatives kill’ just seemed so out of place. My friend clearly admits there are weeks she can’t even get out of bed, and in the last 2 years I have actively pursued the ‘alternative’ to life (through the concepts of an excessive amount of pills and bleeding out)…and not to leave out the fact that she makes decisions not carefully processed through her frontal lobe, and I have 5 children running around inside of me waiting for a moment of weakness so they can take over and engage in self-destructive mayhem on ‘us’ when their needs aren’t met…it seems unlikely that it would be preservatives in a bag of apples that will be the demise of Grace or DBT friend.

After I stopped laughing, I validated her concerns, and we walked into class together; me in my business suit and 4 inch heels, perfectly manicured nails, and freshly applied lipstick, and she in her hemp clothing, crocks and ball cap. What can I say; I do appreciate her concern about my ‘physical’ health.

Oops! That reminds me, I left the bag from today in my car, and it was 75 degrees here today…I’d better run out and grab them and get them in the fridge, so they’ll be fresh for tomorrow!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Picture of the Woman at the Zoo

"I am not a morning person", Grace mumbles, as she flips off the “early bird’ chirping outside of the bedroom window, thrilled to find the worm to satiate her hunger. One of the reasons for this early morning grogginess is that I stay up so late at night, listening to the voice of apprehension, warning me of the nightmares that are sure to engulf me after I drift off to sleep. And while I am slumbering and the nightmares creep forward from my sub-conscious onto the 3-D video screen in front of me, I am unable to escape or defend myself. At night I prop my eyelids open and watch the comedy channel until the vampires settle in for their siesta and then I crawl up the stairs and into bed for a good 3-4 hours. I am NOT a morning person!

This morning when I dragged myself out of bed and slowly crept down the stairs, I found dear husband sitting at the kitchen table listening to 80’s hair band music and surfing the net. He knows not to speak to me before I ingest at least a sip of strong black coffee and so he patiently waited until I tip-toed quietly over to the coffee maker, poured a cup of coffee from the carafe and headed to the kitchen table to engage in the Sunday morning discussion of “why did you spend (enter $ amount) at (enter retail store)?” I sat down at the table and took a sip of coffee and in my groggy mind, tried to recall the money I spent last week at (enter retail stores), as I waited for the weekly question. But this morning, a different question escaped his lips.

And the question was this: “Honey, there’s a picture of a woman at the zoo on our computer and I have no idea who she is?” He has met DT once before, when we stopped by her house to pick up pick up my MP3 player because she made me a relaxation recording so I could relax/sleep better. But that was last year and he didn’t remember what she looked like.

I smiled a ‘half-smile’ (the best I can muster at 8:00 on a Sunday morning) as I remembered that dear therapist had emailed me a couple of photos earlier in the week, at my request, and I stored them on the hard-drive in our laptop. I pondered how I should answer this question as dh already thinks my attachment to DT is…how should I say this…strange and crazy (?).

There really wasn’t a clever way to answer his question, that I could think of, so I just came out and said, “Oh, that’s DT. I asked her to send me a photo so I can look at it when I’m (enter: scared, lonely, sad, other painful feeling).

I could tell by the look on his face that he did, in fact, think that was ‘odd’. So I continued (as though he didn’t already know this) “I think of her like the ‘mother’ I didn’t have and so I need that ‘connection’ to her when she can’t be here for me.” I know I must have sounded like a child, and he was probably wondering what happened to his wife, the adult Grace who is nearly 40 years old. But much to my surprise, he didn’t ask further questions. And I didn’t offer additional information to further explain or illuminate why I had added this addition to my ‘objects of dependence’ *collection*. My current collection includes: several recordings of her “talking” to me ~ relaxation, meditation, readings from books, a few CDs she has made me (meditations, healing trauma, and even music), a healing bead she brought me that I made into a bracelet, emails, and even a bear that I sleep with that when you press her left hand is DT talking to me. In fact, there are times when I inadvertently hit the bear’s hand and it wakes him up when DT talks and sort of freaks him out. And of course the bear’s name is “dear therapist bear”. And now photos? I’m sure he’s wondering, “WHAT NEXT?”

He has no idea of the story I’ve written in my head that I have left home for, let’s say, college (although that changes~ sometimes college, sometimes I’ve moved overseas or to a different coast…) and the connection I have with DT is that I can email her, she will email me back twice a week, I can call her if I need her, and see her once a week. I hope this ‘story’ will help the little Gracie’s know that DT cares and hasn’t abandoned us.

I can’t wait to see his reaction when I frame a 5 x 7 picture of DT at the zoo in a frame I decorate with some ‘grounding’ sayings written on it, and put it on my night stand!

Okay – I’m kidding about the picture frame…
But at least he didn't ask me why I spent a hundred bucks at Victoria Secret last week.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The only way out is "through"

Anxiety set in about one o’clock Friday afternoon. That was when my conference calls and meetings ended for the day. That was when it got quiet. That was when it was quiet outside my head ~ but that was when the inside of my head became noisy. I left work at 1this afternoon – came home, took a shower and tried to lie down before school let out. I put my head on the pillow and willed myself to go to sleep. HA! That was joke! The images in my head changed my plans. As they unfolded, the visions and body memories had me running to the bathroom to vomit and then back in the shower to try to wash the filth from my body. I haven’t slept well all week, I’m so tired, and the physical exhaustion adds to the ‘feelings’ of fear and anxiety. Dear therapist has always told me I should have a ‘plan’, to be proactive, and prepared before my frontal lobe ceases operation and the adult Grace goes on hiatus as the destructive ones take over. It wasn’t that long ago that DT required me to submit a ‘safety plan’ to her each Friday for the weekend. A plan to prepare myself for the darkness that is sure to settle in like an unwelcome & uninvited house guest. And although DT no longer requires this document on Friday, I drafted one anyway…

I stopped and picked up some videos, including Bedtime Stories ~ because Adam Sandler is way better for ‘emotion regulation’ than a cup of hot chamomile tea. J Then my plan after the kids go to bed around 8ish is to keep dear husband awake to watch another movie. By five o’clock I was on the verge of tears again, the nausea was overwhelming and the probability of throwing up again was 95%. I was anticipating a bad night…Friday nights are always bad and throw in the child awareness celebration and the fact that it fell on a Friday and I was scared I would be pushed over the edge.

THEN: Every Friday night, we watched a scary movie, hosted by the Midwestern icon, Sammy Terry. I sat next to my step-father and about 30 minutes into the movie he would put his arm around me ~ as though he was trying to ‘protect’ me and provide a sense of safety for me, from the horror of the movie. And his arm would inch down my shoulder until it settled on my chest. If I was feeling brave I would move to the floor, citing the excuse that I couldn’t see the TV from the couch. The movie was over around eleven and my mother was always passed out drunk before the ending of whatever vampire or demonic movie happened to be playing that Friday night. If we had money (which was rare) my father would take us to the Waffle House, if there was no money (which was typical) we stayed home and everyone went to bed. I never took my eyes from the door, not as long as I knew he was still awake, and it was never long before he would appear in the doorway, in his cheap baggy jeans, and his white pocket t-shirt, smelling of beer and stale cigarettes. The sight of him and knowing what was to come instantly paralyzed me with fear. No one would knock at the door he closed behind him. No one will stop him. And when he touches me, I close my eyes, willing someone else to take over my body so I can go away. And every Friday night, still now, I smell the beer and the cigarette smoke. I feel his breath on my neck and I feel him touching me. He is dead now and yet he’s still alive in my head and in my body when it’s quiet and dark.

I think about talking to her, the scared little Grace…I wonder what I would say to her right now, if she was standing in front of me. I think I would tell her that I will keep her safe now…that I know she’s scared and I can’t take it all away, and I can’t undo what was done. And I would tell her how sorry I am for ignoring her cries for so long, and for hating her vulnerabilities and needs for care and love.

Tonight I have remained here, in this body full of disgusting and revolting memories~ I have not left. It’s so much harder to stay…much more thorny…but I have too, don’t I? Stay here – find a way to get through it? And as I’m here, in my own body, I try to remember that the only way out is through, and I have to be present to get through it.

See, this is the time when I would start to drink ~ a lot and fast in an effort to alleviate some of the fear and pain. And it may still go that way tonight - I’m not sure yet. I can’t fix it ~ not the stuff that fills my head when I lie down ~ not when it’s too quiet, not when it’s dark. And I hope I don’t flip out later tonight…become an actress playing the role of the small, terrified little girl who feels abandoned. I feel more hopeful after Wednesday than I have for a long time. I want to stay in this place for awhile…the space where I believe I can do this, the space where I can see that DT is really ‘here’, with us, in spirit.

DT knows how hard Friday nights are for me, she remembers, and I’m so glad she remembered last night…"Grace, I realize this is Friday, so I hope that you are able to stave off the pain somewhat this evening, a tall order I know. I hear your efforts here in spite of the early onset of anxiety. Remember when you are awake to keep your focus on the safety of your external environment, because this orientation will "help" you stay in your body. When this doesn't work at moments or long periods, keep your emotions externalized in the sense of not allowing "little Grace" from being the recipient of any angry or anxious thoughts that arise. She is never to blame and can be encouraged to speak up, ask for or do whatever she feels she needs. You get to make sure that it is in her best interest. You are now learning how to be her protector, baby steps… You are in my thoughts.”

Thank you, DT, for the validation...Grace still feels safe and cared for...

The blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention

In recognition of child abuse awareness day I spent some time making ribbons for Friday, and on each ribbon I placed a tiny pink or blue hand. On Thursday, I passed out the ribbons at work to those employees who report directly to me, and I also dropped a ribbon off at dear therapist’s office. On Friday morning, my son wore blue pants and a blue shirt & my daughter proudly wore a blue ribbon with a tiny pink hand, even dear husband wore blue on Friday. And when I arrived at work on Friday I was happy to see the ribbons proudly displayed on the shirts in the office.

Not only was Friday CA awareness day it was also the monthly staff meeting at my office. Typically, I am not able to attend these meetings as I have scheduling conflicts most months. It just so happened that yesterday, a meeting had been rescheduled which left my calendar clear for this hour. The free space in the calendar was noticed by one of my managers who was quick to remind me that due to my conference calls, meetings and travel that half of the staff don’t even know who I am. I enjoy the meetings and talking with the staff, understanding and recognizing their successes as well as their struggles, so I was happy to be attending this monthly meeting for the first time in several months.

Departmental and individual achievements were recognized, monthly and year to date results were reviewed. The employee of the month named and commended for her exceptional hard work and dedication. Anniversaries were recognized and awards were given. It was announced that birthday cake would be offered after the meeting to celebrate and honor those on staff who were born in the month of April. The staff members were jovial and content; the results are good, there is a sense of job security in this unstable economy, and not only was it Friday, but there was cake!

At the end of the meeting it was announced that there would be a pizza party on May 15th in honor of National Pizza Party day, and to see (staff member name) if you were interested in participating in this celebration. It was after the declaration of ‘National Pizza Party day’ celebration that I scanned the room and other than the ribbons I had handed out to my managers, there was not another ribbon visible in the room. Not one blue ribbon, not one mention of what we were observing in the current day ~ just excitement over pizza.

I was discouraged and disheartened when I left the meeting~ but still proudly displaying my ribbon. My discouragement was lifted a bit when I received an email later that night from DT, thanking me for dropping the ribbon off at her office, and letting me know that she was proudly wearing it during her evening work at the hospital, and even explaining the meaning to those who asked her what the ribbon represented.

What does that blue ribbon represent? The blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention. The color blue was chosen to represent the bruised and battered bodies of the thousands of children that are abused every day. It serves as a constant reminder that all of us have a responsibility to help keep children safe.

Every 6 hours a child in the United States dies from abuse or neglect

Child abuse kills more children in America than accidental falls, choking on food, suffocation or fires in the home.

More than 8 out of 10 abused children are abused by their own parents…
Mothers are most often the perpetrators. They either physically abuse their children or severely neglect meeting their basic needs of food and safe shelter.
Fathers, step-fathers, friends, and neighbors are generally the perpetrators of sexual abuse.

One in 3-4 girls and one in 6 boys have been molested by age 18 …
Boys report less than girls70-90% of the molesters are family members or friends62% of pregnant and parenting teens were raped, molested, or sexually assaulted prior to their first pregnancy.

Children age 3 and younger are consistently the most victimized group.

In 2005, more than 3.5 million children were reported as victims of child abuse or neglect.
And the staggering truth is that before today is over, four children will DIE because their little bodies cannot bear any more abuse. And another four will die tomorrow, and the next day, and the horror continues, each and every day.

Child abuse is an American epidemic.

Of course, there were over 3 billion pizzas sold in the U.S. last year…so perhaps the consumption of pizza is an epidemic too…and it is a much easier topic to discuss.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tonight Grace feels validated and cared for...

Today was a healthier day for me. Much more so than the past couple of weeks. DT called me this morning and we arranged to meet at her office at 1:30. I wasn’t sure what to expect during the appointment, but I had decided that whether we decided it wouldn’t work or made the decision to continue working together~ I had to be okay with the conclusion that resulted. As I’ve said before, I am afraid to stay and afraid to walk away. I have been holding onto this hope that has seems to be falling like sand through my fist. And my frustration level with our communication was still sitting at “F” ~ full.

So, let's go right into the appointment recap, shall we?

Grace sits down on the couch in DT’s office and says, “I know that my expectations are unreasonable, and I know that I’m not being fair to you. But I want you to be the way you were before, and I can’t seem to get past that. And because I can’t get past it, frustration and bitterness are growing inside me at an alarming rate. “ Tears begin to form in Grace’s eyes.

DT replied, “I know that you want me to email you at night, like I used too, but I do not have the availability and I have struggled with setting boundaries that are agreeable to both of us. I have told you that I will email twice a week and you know that you can call me until 10:00pm and I will try to be available to you.”

Grace rolls her eyes at DT before replying, “I hate talking on the phone! And it’s not easy for me to find a private place to talk to you with the kids and with dear husband lurking around.”

DT is quick to offer a solution, “You can go outside.”

Grace is quick to negate, “I can’t because dear husband will follow me, he watches me like a hawk making sure I’m not going to dive off the balcony or slice my wrists. And historically, when I talk to you on the phone he interjects his comments and then I’m arguing with both of you. And to add to that, if I express anger toward you and he hears me, he thinks you’re not helping me at all and tells me I should quit seeing you.”

“Well,” DT states optimistically, “Dear husband can come to an appointment with you and I can explain to him what we are trying to do…including boundaries and privacy when you call me at night.”

“I can’t make him come to an appointment,” Grace says with an air of defeat in her voice, “And you know I hate the ‘phone contact’ thing anyway…so I’m afraid he and I would both be arguing with you, and I don’t think that would be fair to you – if we gang up on you.”

DT sighs, “So, Grace, tell me what would work to help you feel like I haven’t abandoned you.”

“I don’t know,” Grace says, voice cracking, but trying hard not to cry, “I get so scared at night and you used to be here for me, and now you aren’t there and I’m scared and I can’t feel you there so I get mad at you for leaving me.”

“But you know that you are safe, Grace,” DT says softly, “What about the recordings I have done for you, can you listen to those? I’m happy to do another one for you if it will help you.”

“But when I get that mad at you for not being with me, then I can’t listen to your voice,” Grace’s voice sounds childlike, “And I know I have other supports...dear husband, friends, but at night, when we're scared, little Grace only wants you. She needs you to be there! And I know you have your boyfriend now, and the time you stopped emailing me coincided with the time you told me when you were at his house and he had no email so you couldn’t respond to me, so in my mind you left me behind to fend for myself, because you want to spend time with him and you no longer want to help me. We feel abandoned now."

“Grace,” DT quietly speaks her name, “I do want to help you, and I have not abandoned you. I struggle sometimes. I want to help you, and I’m educated and knowledgeable, but sometimes I question whether I am helping you. I know you're hurting and I know how hard you’re trying, I see you struggling, and I want to help you…I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but I want to be honest with you, there are times I cry at night because I too struggle. I want to help you and sometimes I’m not sure what to do.”

Grace looks at DT and she wants to believe her, with her whole heart, she wants to believe her, and she’s glad that DT was honest and real about her own struggle, but Grace is still skeptical and afraid.

DT continues, “I want to be able to work through this with you, I want to find a middle ground, but I cannot commit to something that I won’t be able to follow through with. That would hurt you more. Emailing you twice a week is workable for me, and I have agreed to do this. Sometimes that is a struggle for me too, what to say to you in email ~ I want to validate the good things you're doing and I also want to acknowledge the pain you're in and it’s a delicate balance because if I say the wrong thing, it could, and has, caused a very negative reaction from you.”

Grace takes a folder out of her bag and hands it to DT. “Here are some examples of how you made us feel safe at night. Here are some of the things you said to us. You told us you “hear” us, and you are “with us…in person or in spirit”, Grace continues, despite the lump that has formed in her throat, “And if I was having a horrible time, you would offer to meet for an extra session. You never do any of that now.” Tears are now visibly falling down Grace’s cheeks, so she turns her head away, still feeling shame and embarrassed when she cries in front of another, even DT.

“Grace,” DT voice sounds calming, “You know if you need an extra session I am always willing to schedule that for you. That has always been an option. But lately you have been cancelling your regular appointments, which is something you have not done historically."

Five year old Grace answers, “Because I'm mad at you for abandoning us! And I don’t want to ask you, I’m not good at asking for what I need or want, and I never had to ask you before, you offered! I never asked. It doesn’t matter, I don’t know what will help. And I’m so afraid. I can’t do it much longer ~ the nights. I’m scared and overwhelmed. His voice is always inside my head, I can feel him in my body, it hurts so much and I can’t make it stop. And the only thing that works now, now that you’re not here, is drinking and ativan and klonopin. And I’m afraid I’m going to die, DT. Not on purpose, but I’m afraid I’m going to take too many drugs and drink too much and I’m going to die.”

“If you call me and tell me you’ve been drinking and taking and excessive amount of antianxiety medication, I will call 911 and send someone to your house,” DT’s voice isn’t as calm now. “Grace, you know I had to set limits. Your safety is my number one priority and there were times I wasn’t able to access your safety via email. You know how many times I would come home at night, and open emails to find pictures of you cutting and bleeding. I couldn't sleep at night!"

“Well, the phone isn’t any better,” Grace says defiantly, “I won’t call you. I won’t do it! And I’ve only cut once since December. And that was after I got off the phone with you and I was mad and I cut my thigh in the bathroom before DBT class.”

“I know,” DT replies, “Did you tell DBTC about that?”

“No!” Little Grace responds, “I wouldn’t tell her. Why should I?”

In an effort to provide some validation and acknowledge the improvement in SI that Grace has exhibited recently, DT says, “I know you aren’t nearly as destructive to yourself as you have been historically. And you’re doing much better expressing your anger outward rather than turning it in on yourself and little Grace. I know you’re drinking much more now. And you shouldn’t drink on the klonopin. Have you told PDOC about the drinking?” DT asks.

“Yes,” Grace says flippantly, “She knows I drink and when she gave me the klonopin she told me I couldn't drink when I take it. But I do anyway..."

DT wrote a note...probably to call PDOC and tell her about the the alcohol/klonopin combo.

An idea comes to Grace, "Maybe it would help if you could give me a picture of you.” Little Grace says, without looking up, “Maybe I can hold your picture and talk to your picture and feel like you’re really here with me.”

“I can do that.” DT agrees, and goes on to add, “I know it hurts, I know it seems so hard right now. But you have to realize it’s going to feel harder right now because you aren’t disassociating as much, you aren’t cutting yourself, you’ve decreased your vomiting. You are more present. You are living through the pain in your own body now, instead of ‘going away’ as a way to cope. I know it hurts so much more right now, but it’s actually good that you’re doing this. You are making progress, as much as it may not seem like it to you. And I am still here. I have not left you. And if this doesn’t work, then we re-evaluate and re-negotiate next week.”

Time was up, but DT added a last comment, "Grace, I'm worried about your drinking."

And Grace replies, "Me, too."

Little Grace wanted to HUG DT at the end of the hour! But Big Grace decided not to let her because she’s still afraid of ‘touch’.

Tonight Grace feels validated and cared for by DT. Pictures received and DT even offered to give Little Grace a t-shirt. … Gawd! I sure hope that woman grows up some day!

*No alcohol and No anti-anxiety meds steps...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Oops! DT 'forgot' that she no longer has texting on her phone..."her bad"

After being frustrated and feeling abandoned for the entire day, I get a voicemail from DT late this afternoon apologizing about the confusion this morning ~ when she said I could text her about an appointment time last night, she ‘forgot’ that about a month ago she disabled the texting capability on her cell phone and she no longer receives text messages. What???

“Grace, I totally messed up the text thing – I spent all day trying to figure out why I didn’t get a text – and I forgot that I changed my phone plan and I no longer have text. So last night when I told you it was fine to text me last night – it was my total oversight – I own all of it – it was my error and I apologize. I don’t know what more I can say except I’m very sorry and it was my error and I hope you’ll forgive me on this one. I hope we can see past this, but if we can’t, I understand that as well. Hopefully this is workable. So, let me know if you want to talk further about it. Thanks bye”

So, I had prepared this to send:

Dear Therapist,
I have never in my life been more hurt and humiliated than I have been with you these past few months. I am so hurt and confused at your behavior and communication that I don’t even know what to say. You clearly don’t understand how fragile I am and that I break just like a little girl. Of course in your defense, “Things Change” ~ so no more texting is just another change, right? The thing is, DT, you’ve changed so much I don’t even know who you are now. And I’m still in the same space, the space of fragility and vulnerability and I need you to be here for me. I need you to be here for me, I committed, and if you aren’t committed then take the out, DT, if you aren’t committed then and I’m begging you fold and walk away, because I can’t handle much more. Can’t you see me standing on the ledge?? You know what I thought of this afternoon when you left your voicemail? “I’m sorry, I forgot I didn’t have text on my phone.”..…I heard this voice from the past, “Gee Grace – I know I said I’d be there for your (enter: birthday, graduation, wedding, birth of your child…) but I just couldn’t because I (enter: drunk, at the bar, I forgot, I didn’t care, you don’t fucking matter to me)…Mother (aka: the host body).

I called my friend after I left your office because I was a mess and I knew I couldn’t go to my office like that. She suggested that we meet somewhere but I told her I just wanted to go home. She didn’t think that was a good idea but I told her she could call me later and “check in”. I told her I didn’t understand….that I was hurt and confused and it was clear from speaking to you this morning that you considered it MY error, even though I KNEW I sent the message. I told her that I have really just lost hope in this entire process. She asked me if I wanted her to come over and I told her if she did to bring booze – but that if she couldn’t I would be okay…I just had to get through the minute, and then the next minute…just like night time…Just keep counting until dawn. I feel like I spend my whole day wishing it away, hoping it’ll go fast – just getting through. I look around every day and I see nothing. Just more crap to deal with and more horrible crying, and unfathomable fear and sorrow. I feel like I am dying most of the time. I want pills and booze and drugged out sleep all the time because if I have to “handle” this much longer I am going to die.

That night, last summer, when I was going to kill myself…that afternoon I left your office and OD’d on wine and pills (although unfortunately not enough to kill me), I called my friend. And I didn’t ASK her to come over to help me because I’m not very good at ASKING for what I need. And when she heard my voice on the phone, she said, “Do you NEED me to come over?” And I said yes. I needed her and I need you.

And today, when I was crying on the phone, my friend said to me, “I believe in you. You can do this ~ and if you aren’t strong enough right now, I will be strong for you until you feel strong enough. Just hold on. I am here.” And some days, her belief in me, my children’s beliefs in me, are the only things that keep me breathing.

Do you have any idea what it’s like to be raped? Do you have any idea what it’s like to be raped when you’re 5, by the man who is supposed to love you, to protect you? Do you have any idea what it feels like to have your own mother, the woman who gave birth to you, tell you that she hates you and wishes you were never born? Do you have any idea what it’s like to wish you were never born, to wish you would die? Do you have any idea how hard it is to relive it every night ~when you’re mind won’t stop and your body hurts and the person who *knows* is no longer there? Maybe you do – and I can assure you that I DO! I NEED to know if you CAN help me! I have to know if you can do this, hear it, stand it, live it with me. I need to know if you WANT to do this, not that you’re ‘willing’ to do it. I need to know if you can be strong and the same – I need to know.

Hope is so fragile, and DT, I’m running out of energy. Maybe this has never happened to you, but when you lose faith and trust in someone you believed in, especially when trust is such a difficult thing to believe in, it feels very much like you’ve been broken. You’re no ‘life coach’ now – working with you is draining and I feel like I’m carrying a load of boulders on my back and it gets heavier every day. And half of the them you just dumped on me when things “changed” for you. And I can’t carry the fucking load! Yes, there are days when I’m okay, days when I can see a flicker of ‘hope’ – but there are more days when I’m NOT okay and I need your help. And that time may not be Wed @ 130 – or whatever time it is. And that’s just the nature of how this shit works for me, my body, my mind. So if you’re in it for an hour a week, 9-5 kinds a thing, than as much as I want you to have the job - you aren’t qualified to fill the position. And I need to know that now. Because it’s fucking hard and I’m beyond tired! And my body fucking HURTS! Physically HURTS! And I would love to heal. Don’t you get that? I would love too – think of the time, money and energy I would save! Don’t you get it? I would love to but my body won’t let me. Every day I have a migraine, every day I have my neck hurts and the base of my skull aches to the point that I sit with a heating pad on the back of my neck every single night. And every day I’m nauseous and unable to eat, and most days I’m unable to control the vomiting. And every day I’m dizzy and clumsy and more days than not my vision is blurry and my concentration is virtually non-existent.

And conversely to what you may believe I know my mind and my body. I may have spent half of my life not really inhibiting my body, but I know it better than anyone else. And we are weary…we are sad and tired, and scared. And we have spent our life in fear and longing for safety. And my mind isn’t able to fully process all that my body is saying. Do you see that? Do you understand that? I know that I have to continue on this journey – there’s no turning back for me, I’m committed, and I know that I cannot do it alone. But I can’t do it with someone who is constantly changing or defensive, or unable to hear me or communicate with me. I can’t do it with someone who doesn’t make me feel cared for or safe. So please, take an internal inventory and let me know if this is a road you want to continue to travel down because I need to know and I deserve to know. I do not deserve to be treated disrespectfully. I do NOT deserve to be hurt further by someone who is supposed to help me and care for me! I need the truth and I need it now. It’s not the end of the world if we cannot work this out, or continue to work together. But this continued power struggle, this constant confusion and frustration is hurting my health and wellness every day and I don't deserve that, there’s already been too much pain in my life. If you need to work exclusively in a way that you are not available to your patients except for a scheduled hour a week – so be it… it's not a crime to work that way, You need what you need. As do I. And if those needs can’t “mesh” at all now, then it isn’t going to work. I will not be set up for failure. You can’t expect me to be independent – to help myself because you don’t have ‘time’ because your life changed – and I cannot do this – by myself in the middle of the hell that plays out in my body and in my mind – I can’t do it.

One step forward, a hundred steps back. If you want to meet to discuss this further, I am free tomorrow after 1pm, however– if you want to take this opportunity to bow out now then please do so because I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel anytime soon.

~ Grace

Perhaps she missed the "first do no harm" class

Last night I decided that I hadn't been sufficiently invalidated by dear therapist...I had SOME sense of worth yet, and to me that just isn't acceptable. So...I called her and tried (AGAIN) to explain my pain and hurt at her 'changes', and after a bit of conversation, I asked her if I could come in for an appointment today (Tuesday). 9am was her only availability, and I needed to check my calendar, so I told her, if she agreed, I would check my calendar, and if it was open, I would send her a text message letting her know that the time worked for me.

My calendar was free so last night I sent her a text telling her I would see her at 9 am this morning. Well, I arrived at her office 5 minutes early and waited until 9:10 - no I called answer. I left her a voicemail letting her know that I was at her office and I would wait until 9:15 - for her. She called me at 9:12 and said, "Grace, as we left it last night you were to send me a text message letting me know if you were available at 9. I did not get a text message from you so I assumed you weren't available and that is why I am not there." Um...the text is in my sent box and it was NOT returned, nor have I ever had someone not receive a text. When I told her this, she responded, "Well, I don't know what else to say, I didn't get it." She actually said, "You can check my phone." Give me a break! Why would I check her phone - and if it isn't on her phone, it's not like she couldn't have deleted it! Way to be defensive though! I find that people only get defensive when they're trying to cover something up, perhaps lying about something?

She then told me she was "happy" to reschedule the appointment for me later this week, and she would "wait" for me to contact her about a time. I told her not to hold her breath waiting for my call! WTF? I sent the text to her as an attachment in an email, to show her that I did, in fact, send her the text message at 10:36pm. And I'm sure she DID get it, too. Perhaps she overslept.

I cannot begin to tell you about the overwhelming feelings I have right now. I want to scream, throw something, hurt myself, get drunk... I FUCKING HATE HER!!!! But what really sucks is that I hate myself even more. Why do I keep going back again and again? I don't understand it. And every time she says she wants to help me, but she really doesn't...maybe she really hates me too and that's why she continues to hurt me.

Perhaps she overslept on the day they taught the "first do no harm" class.

Monday, April 13, 2009

She's hot then she's cold...She's yes then she's no...She's in then she's out...She's the same then she's changed...

Distress tolerance. That was the discussion in DBT class tonight. Distress tolerance & Emotion Regulation. Like you should 'know' your number (and I ain't talking about your sleep number) I'm talking about the number from 1-100 where you lose touch with reality, when you hit that *fight or flight* mode. For example, if you typically find yourself on the bathroom floor with vomit in your hair and a straight razor in your've definitely gone way past your number. If, however, you notice you start to feel anxious, perhaps a few self-destructive thoughts are going through your head and you recognize that this type of thinking/behavior might lead to the bathroom floor situation I described earlier - you may decide to be proactive by reaching out to someone, be it a friend, a therapist (although I wouldn't suggest mine - she's busy), or perhaps a crisis line. If you're like me, when you get to the edge, but not the point of no return, you could be having body memories, flashbacks from the past and a general sense of feeling unsafe.

I'm not sure how useful it would be to you to call someone in the MHP and express your feelings of fear and lack of safety - but for me...the last thing I want to hear is someone to condescendingly tell me to fix a cup of chamomile tea, take a warm bath, or read the comics. Give me a break! Hearing those words actually SEND me over the edge, right past the point of no return.

Grace, "I feel scared, I smell him right now, it feels like he's in the room with me, I can feel his breath on the back of my me."

MHP, "Why don't you try a nice cup of warm chamomile tea."

Grace, "Wow! That's a great idea - I sure wish I would have thought of that!"
A hot cup of chamomile tea is sure to take away the pain in your body and the feeling that he is once again invading your child body. Yes, that should do the trick nicely! How about a nice big bottle of Grey Goose and a cocktail of ativan and klonopin. That seems to work better for me!

During the course of our meeting tonight, my classmate who sees the same T (well, that I 'used' to see) told about how rough her week was, and she asked DT for an emergency session on Friday (DT doesn't work on Friday's)...but of course being the accommodating, caring DT that she is, she did see classmate in her 'emergency'. Now, when I'm on the ledge, she doesn't even call me back for 48 that was really a validating thing for me to hear. "Hit me again, Ike!"

So I see things have only changed for some clients (Of course that's really none of my business....but it's not like I can pretend I didn't hear it). But then again, things change, she said it - and it's certainly her right to choose who she will 'call' back or 'accommodate' a session for. And I can just get over it. Move on, deal with the changes she's made. I mean, it isn't a crime punishable under the law --she can decide what she needs - what she is willing or not willing to offer- but so can it. But her words of "things change" sound sort of blaming and condescending to me. Like, "GD Grace! Get a grip and move on! Can't you see I have a life now?"

She doesn't get it, STILL! I would love nothing more than to move on! But I can't! Every single day I deal with the memories, the flashbacks the triggers...I know what my body tells me despite the fact that I tend to leave it a few times a week. I know what it tells me. It tells me to be fearful and's unsafe.

I know what I need to do and I can't do it by myself. And I can't do it with someone who is constantly changing. She needs to make the decision, once and for all, if she is "in" this, or not...Because if the answer is "not" I am finished!

I feel like I've been set up for failure - I'm expected to be completely independent at night now because her life changed! And I can't do it...not in the middle of all of "THIS", not at night, not right now! And dt's answer to that is always, "Well, Grace, that's just how it changes. You're on your own now because I'm not available in the evening. I realize I used to be there for you...and we just have to keep "working" on your 'skills' so that you can be there for yourself, and little Grace."

Yes, DT, please...try to find an accerlerated class for me to attend so I can do it on my own. I'd be willing to pay a year of mental health services for a class that's 6 weeks, or less. I figure that's money I can save by forgetting you exist! Oh, and if your life 'changes' again prior to you finding my "how to get through the night alive and safe', and my completion of the class; perhaps you could be a bit more proactive in communicating that to me too. Like maybe you're changing our meetings to 15 minutes instead of an hour because you don't have "time" anymore to accomodate an hour.

Every night I pray for a miracle. Every night I pray that I won't feel him or hear him. Every night I pray that I can fall asleep before 2am. Every night I pray for a night without tears. Every night I pray that I will forget. One would think I would have given up on prayer by now...I suppose it's back to the ole' ~ keep doing the same thing and hope for a different outcome.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

I will forever bear these marks

I remember when I was a teenager and we lived across from a cemetery. I used to go there and walk around, reading headstones. It must seem like such an odd place for a teenager to want to be, but it was beautiful and it brought me peace in a way I can’t explain. One morning, I was walking through the cemetery, it had just stopped raining and as I carefully weaved my way through the gravestones, I felt this all consuming loneliness envelope me. Suddenly it was as though I couldn’t breathe, my vision narrowed and the tears began to tumble down my cheeks like rain. I sat down on the wet grass and cried until there were no more tears. My jeans were wet and I was chilled to the bone but I didn’t care. Sometimes, still today, I miss that cemetery. Even though everyone there was ‘dead’ it somehow made me feel comforted and less alone ~ maybe that’s because I felt ‘dead and alone’ inside too.

Its overcast here today, gray clouds hover close to the ground making me feel cold and depressed ~ in a strange way, my body seems to be telling me that something dreadful is going to happen soon. And I feel the innermost part of my hidden self continues to push forward in an burdensome and wearing way ~ an uninvited guest arriving at an inopportune time. My body continues to tell me secrets I never wanted to know, and I am held captive, unable to escape. The aching pain inside me, the unmet needs, I am a long way from understanding them, or even endure them. Despite the ‘self-soothing’ skills I have learned, I do not have what I need inside of me to ‘heal’ my pain. I could have enough DBT skills to fill the Atlantic Ocean and it wouldn’t be enough to offset the pain.

And I will forever bear the mark of a woman with a personality disorder, a mood disorder. I will always bear the label of a woman with an eating disorder, a self-mutilator. I will always carry the brand of ‘incest survivor’ and I will forever take medication just to stay alive. And the paradox is that as much as I abhor those labels, I find that I need them. They are me, they flow through my veins and when no one else is here, they are. Somehow they seem to explain the loneliness and despair. They illuminate why I feel as though I am broken into a million pieces, unable to put myself back together again. But I have nothing concrete to show for this abundance of internal pain. What I have are jagged external scars running from my wrists to my elbows that are a constant reminder of a time I did not choose life over death. Scars that I can hide from others with long sleeves, but I will never be able to hide from myself. What I have are 10 different bottles of medication and a pharmacist who knows me by name. What I have is the head of a Mrs. Beasley doll that belonged to a sad little girl. What I have is sadness captured in a few photos from childhood, hidden in a cardboard box in the corner of the den closet…photos that have bear the fingerprints of someone who wants a normal childhood, even today. What I don’t have, however, is my mind, an ability to trust, or an ability to rationalize and be a ‘normal’ human being. I carry with me a multitude of broken promises scattered on the bathroom floor, mingled with my blood. I look in the mirror and the woman looking back at me isn’t the ‘confident professional’ I pretend to be – in the mirror, without the mask, is the terrified, hurting little girl who has no idea if she is even real.

And every single day I look around and I try to figure out who I am, because at any given moment I could be someone different. I am breathing, I can feel my heart beating – but it isn’t me. It doesn’t matter what ‘self’ I put on to dazzle and charm the crowd, I no longer need my mother to remind me that I am unwanted…unloved. There is a voice inside of me, an internal judge, who repeats all my mother said to me, over and over again.

I wanted a teacher, a role model, someone to teach me what I never learned. I wanted to believe that she was real and genuine and not like my mother. I wanted someone to tell me that I am real and that I do matter. I wanted someone to know all of the people who live within me, and still care. I no longer think that person exists.

My Dearest Daughter

My dearest Annie,

As I hold you in my arms there are tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart. I am imagining what you will be like when you are my age and I am praying that you will not be like me. My sweet angel, you are so very precious to me. Don't let anyone ever tell you differently. I cannot keep from running my hand through your soft curly hair and snuggling you close to breathe you in. You are so innocent and I am so jaded. You have no secrets while I have many that I am too ashamed to speak of. I am not foolish enough to pray for your innocence to be never-ending, but please, whatever hurts you may encounter do not let yourself react like I did and become like me.
While you are safe in my arms I am fighting a desperate battle for my health, my sanity, my life. I am trying to stop myself from self-destructing, from slowly committing suicide. And you know what? You are my inspiration. I tell myself that I want to come to you and hold you without also holding the heavy guilt of failure, of another day wasted ~ another backwards step on this road to “healing”. And so I continue to fight for all that you represent; for in you I see the future that I can have if only I will choose life.

As I hold you, sleep is beginning to overtake you. Your eyelids grow heavy and stay closed before popping open for one last look at the world as you see it. The warmth of your body is comforting to me. I smile a painful smile at the irony of it all for sleep has overtaken you like depression has overtaken me. Before you even existed as a dream, I was crying out, screaming for release from a mindless existence, but no one heard me. And after a while I succumbed to maddening sadness and my past crept into my present and carried me away. I was silenced by the obsession, the addiction of it all, and I became one more statistic in a growing set of numbers.

As I watch you sleeping, I am fighting to wake up, to shed this stupor of death. My eyes are like yours, sometimes popping wide open for a moment of epiphany, but more often than not staying closed to a world that is too critical, too demanding, too harsh, too fearful, and too vast all at once. Maybe soon, or maybe not for a long time, but eventually, I promise you, I will start screaming again, I will start fighting again.

And when the time comes for me to scream and fight, it is you, my beautiful angelic daughter, who I will be screaming and fighting for.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

If life is really as short as they say, then why is the night so long?

It’s nearly midnight…another night of pain. Another night of being overwhelmed by the voices inside my head….they are loud and I cannot tune them out. I have tried walking, reading, listening to music, exercising, relaxation,, watching TV….. but nothing is working tonight. . It’s at night when it's his voice I hear.I struggle enough with being stupid, worthless, dirty, disgusting – I hate his voice – but was he right? Is that why his voice keeps coming back into my mind over and over again? Was he right? Did he know that I am really worthless on the inside, and I am only pretending to be good on the outside? Did he know the *real* me?

I don't know how to explain the dark pain and ache I feel inside. I'm unable to describe the utter blackness I see when I close my eyes and try to remember a good time in my childhood. I can't explain the thoughts that are constantly running through my mind making me scared of even myself. I cannot begin to tell you of the emptiness inside of me every single day – when I have to *pretend* to be someone I am not. I don't know how to explain any of this.

Little Gracie is so small and scared. She is hurting because of DTs abandonment. She has been hurt so many times…and this is just too much for her. I have tried to console her, to talk to her, to pacify her – but I am at the point where I am losing what little patience I had and I'm getting angry at her. I can no longer be *gentle*.

I tell her over and over: Gracie, I know this is hard – and I know it hurts – but I can’t help that she doesn’t have time to ‘pacify’ and ‘soothe’ you at night when you are afraid. I know you can feel him, and taste him…smell him. I know you feel sick and I know you want to vomit. Gracie, I know you want her to be here for you, I know you need her to be here…but Gracie, she’s gone. She has someone else now and he needs her so she no longer has time for you. I’m sorry, and I know that’s hard to face, but you’ll get through it. You have been through worse. I know you’re afraid. Hell – we’re all afraid. I want to talk to her too! I want to scream out to her, “I AM AFRAID! PLEASE HELP ME…I am so afraid of who I am…I am so afraid.” But it doesn’t matter, she’s not *here*. She isn’t here ~ and she isn’t coming back. So, it’s time now, little Grace…curl up in your blanket and close your eyes. Listen to the sound of your heart beating…

I know the nights are so long but its midnight now. You just have to make it till dawn…

I thought I was supposed to change ~ and she was to remain th same?

On Tuesday I created a power point expressing my pain, hurt and abandonment….and child abuse, in general (If I could figure out how to post it in my blog, I surely would). Although it was relatively short, 14 slides, I was able to say what I needed to say, through pictures, words and music. And after I completed it, I felt it important to communicate it to DT. So I printed it and put it in an envelope, along with a CD of the song I had chosen to go with the slides. And at the last minute I printed the blog I posted on Validation. I knew she wasn’t working at her office so there was no chance I would run into her as I slipped the envelope under her door.

On Wednesday evening, around 7pm, DT left me a voicemail letting me know she did receive the envelope I left and said the power point was “beautiful” and “poignant” and she thanked me for sharing it with her. She went on to say that I was getting better at expressing myself and that ‘clearly’ she isn’t ‘getting it’ (she then added, “in some ways”). She then spoke about the “validation” piece I included, saying, “I’m not measuring up in the ways that you need me too” (really?) …in defense, she went on to say that she isn’t getting the information, or communication from me to help her measure up. (WHAT?) She said she would be ‘available’ all evening and suggested I call her~ and she also proposed that I come to the appointment on Thursday (that I cancelled on Sunday) so that she could “clarify” her intention in her message. (I wasn’t clear if she was referring to the voicemail she left on Monday, or the email she sent on Tuesday).

So, let me add a few things here, “if I may”? Her VM on Monday was crystal clear and I don’t need ‘further clarification’ on her ‘intentions’. The message was “if” I wanted to “talk” I should call her and leave a message and state, very clearly, in the message that I want her to call me back. (Um, why would I call her if I didn’t want to *talk* to her?).

Now, she may have meant the email she sent Tuesday when she referred to her ‘message’. Now, I could use some clarity on that…I thought she was communicating that she was wishing me the best, that I know what’s best for me and if I wanted to talk further…I should call her. But again, I could be way off base, she is the ‘expert’ not me.

It is not a secret that she isn’t ‘measuring up’ ~ as I have verbalized AND written what I needed from her. The fact is that she isn’t willing to honor my request, which is to correspond as she used too. That said, I’m not going to say that my needs are reasonable based upon her new found relationship, but my needs haven’t changed, she was willing to ‘honor’ my needs in the past, but now she isn’t. (I thought I was the one who was supposed to ‘change’ through our work together and she was the one who would remain the same?

I am at a loss as to where to go from here. I’m tired! Exhausted from the ‘back and forth’ and constant negotiations, and then being disappointed and let down. ..I’m tired of the “changes”! For the past several months she’s hurt me, invalidated me, made me feel like I’m not important to her and that I don’t matter. She IS my mother! She’s done everything my mother did to me when I was a child…well, everything other than letting a pedophile fuck me!