Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Friday, June 22, 2012

A few answers

First, I am allowed to think about this and can be within my boundaries.  Basically I'm not supposed to go looking for trouble (ie, not doing things likely to cause memories to reappear or strong feelings that I can't handle.  That won't happen without my poking into things.  And if it does spontaneously happen then that's why I have to see another therapist this week.  The main restrictions are leaving my written story and recorded story alone and not reading my grandma's diaries.

As far as why I say I need to feel it, many reasons. One is that that if I feel the pain and associate it with what caused it I may become less fearful.  In life there are many things that are simple that I can't do, things as simple as going to a store and back to my car after dark.  Even in my tiny, very safe town where I'm probably the only person who locks the house or car I struggle to go to the car and back in the dark.  I do it but it is hard (easier with a remote lock that lights the car; I didn't have one of those until this car).  It also will help me from being smacked hard with all the feelings at once every so often when something upsets me.  I am having a hard time coming up with an example of what I mean there, but because I have all these scary feelings that I have never let myself feel, sometimes I become very upset about something not that upsetting.  On the hand in a situation that triggers too much I dangerously underreact.  One example of this was back in grad school I had gone to Meijers (a very awesome Walmart-like store that I should have stayed in Michigan for) to get my can deposit back and wander around for a bit as a break from my thesis.  I would have been 23 or 24, plenty old enough to know how to respond to this.  But anyway, as I walked around I noticed this man following me.  At first I thought it was coincidence but no matter where I went he was there, getting closer and closer and bumping me with his cart, all the while grinning at me.  My reaction?  Head for the least populated part of the store.  I didn't scream.  I didn't try to get security.  I didn't head for the front of the store and the security guards there or any employees.  I panicked and made a bad situation turn dangerous.  Finally, probably soon before he tried to grab me a store employee came into the aisle.  The man looked at me, laughed, and said "next time" and left.  I walked away from my cart and stupidly walked straight out into the huge dark parking lot where he easily could have been waiting.  Then I drove home, giving him a chance to follow me.  I need to learn to feel because I need to learn to respond in these situations.  A couple years ago Dr. Mind gave me scenarios of what the proper safety reaction would be.  I repeatedly tried and was wrong every time in how much reaction was needed.  I started trying to guess what he wanted to hear and even then I was wrong every time.  I also don't feel normal emotions.  To me sadness is not something I share and I barely am able to cry at home.  I cry with Dr. Mind but that took many weeks of work and even then sometimes he has to help me know I can cry, that it is safe to do so.  Anger is something I really don't have any concept of.  I almost never cry with Dr. Brain even though I know I get hugs and sympathy if I do.  In the hospital I remember crying for the first day of my first admission, when I've had a conflict with a nurse, when Dr. Brain came to see me, and when I talked to Dr. Mind on the phone.  No matter how severely depressed I don't show it.  My doctors know when I'm faking and get it out of me, but the hospital staff who know me but not as well didn't catch on that I was in there the last time because I was dead-set on killing myself and had kind of come in as a last chance for someone to show me why I would want to live.  The day I told them what they were missing it was very tempting to just let it go, be released on the Friday as they'd anticipated and then kill myself.  Thankfully I did tell them and was taken extremely seriously at that point.  (Manicky/depressed reactions don't count as emotions, by the way).  Most of the time the only feeling I'm certain of is anxiety and I then go far overboard with it.  Dr. Mind just pointed out that I'm worrying about 2 years from now and I'm only now improving after a year of being very ill.  But I don't know what else to feel.  That's making the grief process for my job even harder because I struggle to say "I miss doing _____ and I wish I could work".  Instead I wait until I'm blindsided by something like an article on what it feels like when God's plans differ from our own.  So it's not just about these events, it's about something that shouldn't really be a skill but is for me.  When I was in kindergarten I failed stairs because I didn't alternate my feet.  Now that would have gotten a PT evaluation; back then they simply had stairs failures line up and walk up and down stairs.  In my case it was something that I hadn't learned to do because I was small for my age and the stairs were big steps for me and I didn't feel confident.  I had to learn to use the railing and trust I wasn't going to fall.  Emotions are a lot like that to me; something I should know but don't.

The easier question was what did I mean about the "eleven years" posts?  I've posted several times about things that I experienced in my 11 years as a therapist.  I want to do as many of those as I can because I want to remember as much as I can.  With so few memories of the last year I've learned the value of writing things down because this disease can take them from me, and working those 11 years was so important to me.  If I had only kept a journal of events I could have a book.

My cat has just informed me that she would like dinner #2.  And who am I to deny her?  She's eating but small amounts and she's even more picky than usual, which is frighteningly picky.  However she no longer seems to feel bad and she is  beside me purring loudly right now.  She's spent cuddly time with me, including once that she very clearly wanted me to carry her to the food bowl; I obliged of course and she even beat up her toy mouse once.  Usually that's a nightly thing.  So we're going the right direction for sure.

2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com

1 comment:

Michal Ann said...

I'm soon off to help with two grandkids and grandpets for a couple days.

I want to share a beautiful website and part of a recent post. All credit goes to the parents for their blogging. Daisy's dad, pastor Britt Merrick has a couple of his sermons available on the site and they are the best I've ever heard.

Jen, I know you sob uncontrollably at times. I'm not sure how that factors in to a lack of emotion bu perhaps it's what you said "didn't count" because it's "manicky/depressive."

Daisy's mom wrote this:


"Yes, we have been through much worse and yes, we will make it through but sometimes you just want to plop down and cry and wish it would all just go away…

Today I am identifying with Naomi, David, Jeremiah, Job, and all who have just plopped down and cried. And that’s ok. It’s part of being human, and thankfully my hope doesn’t lie in circumstances. I know what to do…

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives power to the weak
And strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired,
And young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength,
They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary,
They will walk and not faint."

More later, my dear Jen.

((((((hugs))))) Michal

p.s. Wonderful to hear that the positive trend continues for Anna. Beating up her toy mouse and soaking up some food and attention is great news. Enjoy the cuddles this weekend...and keep your water bottle nearby in case she pins you down with love. :) You BOTH need fluids.

p.s.s. I re-read a book that has relevant insights to your situation. I might type them out and share them. One statement was that survivors have a high pain tolerance. Does that make sense? I guess that trait isn't unique to you although your case might be different.