My head hurts

Does this image hurt your head? It does mine.

This is what it’s like inside my head at the moment – thoughts racing this way and that, too many things to deal with, it’s all a blur.

Yet again I seem to have taken on too much, and yet again it’s left me feeling overwhelmed. Although for good reason, and not necessarily my fault for everything that’s happening. There’s work issues, my mother’s cancer, my own health issues, issues with friends, blah blah blah. It’s not like I’m freaking out over spilt milk.

The thing that’s most consuming my thoughts right at this moment is work. My relationship with my manager has sunk to an intolerable level, to the extent that I would label her behaviour bullying and harassment. It’s brought back a whole lot of “stuff” from when Things Fell Apart – interactions with her (whether by phone, email or in person) literally now leave me shaking and panic struck.

The good news is that I’ve been offered another job. I have resigned and start my new job in about four weeks. I’m looking forward to the new work – it’s more up my alley, I’ll be working with people like me in a professional sense, and I have worked with the boss there before, so I know it won’t be all triggery and yuck.

At the same time I’m upset at the way things have gone in my current work. I think about my boss and I start shaking. That’s not good. I’m also scared of the new job – I’m wondering if I can do it, I feel like a failure where I am (though I know I’m not) … these thoughts just keep racing through my head.

And then there’s my health issues, which don’t seem to be going in the direction I’d hoped. I need to think about some options, but I can’t. There’s just too many and I’m not ready to deal with them. May be the work issues are taking up too much space?

And then there’s friends, some of whom have said insensitive things to me. And one of whom I’ve said insensitive things to and now I’m in a panic that I’ve ruined our friendship. I’m really sorry I hurt this person, it certainly wasn’t my intention, and I don’t know what else to do about it. I am hoping she’ll forgive me.

It’s noisy and messy in my head, and I don’t like it. I want to run away, never come back, crawl into a dark hole and stay there in the foetal position. I know none of that will help, so I’m just trying to sit with how I feel. Man, that’s hard… and then the thoughts race again and it’s all a blur.

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The joys continue

It’s been a tough week. I still feel triggery and jumpy. I’m still depressed. Bottom of the pit depressed. The urge to hurt myself, and end this futile existence, has loomed large. I saw the Wonder Therapist at the start of the week. She helped me feel a little less disconnected, and a little more focussed on safety. That’s good, I guess. She also rammed home that she thinks I’m being unduly hard on myself. Who? Me?

It struck me today (three days after my therapy session) that I’ve had a lot on, and I have been flagellating myself. Between medical appointments, job interviews, post-operative recovery… it’s a lot. That’s not an excuse for how I’m feeling, but it’s certainly added to the weight I’m carrying.

The pointlessness of life, the space I waste on this earth… this has also been a heavy load. It’s only thanks to the support of friends (you know who you are), and my therapist, that I haven’t acted. Part of me knows, I guess, that this is just the inner critic poking and prodding me again. But is that enough? I mean, is it enough to know that my therapist says this will pass, that friends want me around? I don’t know. Part of me thinks they would all cope without me: my therapist would fill the gaps in her schedule and my friends have their own lives.

I know I’ve been isolating myself, and I know that’s not a good thing. Animals retreat from the world when injured, to lick their wounds. It’s animal instinct. No wonder it feels count-intuitive to socialise at times like this.

I flicked around the internet trying to find something to shift my mind. I found a couple of things that helped.

One talked about not fighting my thoughts and feelings, but acknowledging and accepting them without judgement. It said that I should recognise that I experience a range of thoughts and feelings beyond the hell I’m currently in. Each state is temporary, and each will pass. That helped. Not so much the temporariness, but the acknowledgement and acceptance. Sitting with the thoughts and feelings, I suppose, even the bad ones. It’s helping me recognise these as feelings, but also focus on being safe.

The other thing that helped was thinking about a time and place where I feel safe, relaxed and comfortable. I visualised myself in my favourite place, and immediately felt calmer.

The thoughts are still there, but I’m trying to sit with them. I’m so incredibly exhausted that it’s not too hard to just sit. I’ve been sleeping a lot. That helps to pass the time. Or rather, I should say, I’ve been sleeping a lot during the day… the nights have been restless, wakeful, annoying.

I’m hoping this will pass soon. It’s ghastly. I’d like to be happy. Actually I’m desperate to be happy, but for some reason the universe seems to be conspiring against me.

The joys

*** WARNING: COULD TRIGGER ***

Oh, the joys of PTSD! Just when you think everything is going ok, something comes along and bites you on the a$$. Well, in the head, really.

I saw my therapist this week. I realised afterwards that I’d been holding on to a lot of stuff that didn’t start to come out until it was nearly time to leave. (Really? Bet that’s never happened before?!?!?!) Anyway, she told me she’s out of the office one day next week because she’s appearing in court against a man who raped his 3 year old child.

I didn’t realise this was a trigger, but it was. Who does that? I mean seriously, who does that? Who rapes a 3 year old child? And how can they sit in court and protest their innocence? That’s just so so wrong. That’s disgusting. That’s just… ugh.

I’m so not coping with that. Talk about triggery. Ugh.

I have absolutely no idea why this was such a big trigger for me. I wondered if there was some memory of my own surfacing, because I saw my bedroom in the old house. I can see the grey-green carpet and the orange-yellow curtains. I can feel the curly texture and see the wavy pattern of the carpet. And I started hearing things, or thinking I was hearing things, I’m not sure. I think it was my voice, or my voice in my head, I’m not sure of that either. I’ve never had an auditory experience like that before. It’s scary and freaky.

Here’s what it’s like when this happens.

It’s like the world slows down and speeds up all at the same time. Things start to spin wildly out of control inside. I’m flooded with emotions. I’m spinning uncontrollably but trying desperately to hang on to the present at the same time. Everything around me becomes more distant but larger than life, all at once. And if the trigger is really bad, like this one and the fishy one, I start feeling like a little kid again, even thinking like a little kid. It’s like I’m being transported through time and space. It’s weird and freaky and scary.

And then the inner critic starts up with her incessant criticism and sniping and negative talk. Ugh.

This happened a few days ago and I still don’t know why, damn it. And I had had such a good day too, when this happened. I’d felt pretty funky in the morning so I spent the day doing things I like – cooking, ironing, watching my favourite TV show on DVD. And then this. Days of this. Bleuch. I feel so broken when this still happens, and now I’ve slunk so low I don’t know how to get out of it.

I remember Back Up Therapist saying triggers and flashbacks are all the worse when you can’t figure out what they mean. Hell yea.

I’m still struggling to maintain a connection to the present. I’ve been quite dissociative for a couple of days. Flicking back and forth between the present and somewhere else, though I’m not even sure where. Derealised, depersonalised and forgetting things. I messaged my therapist earlier today but I had no idea what I said. I went to the supermarket and I have no recollection of what I bought, or why. I don’t like this one little bit.

The urge to SI has been stronger than it has been for months. I have French doors at the back of my house. I don’t want to go near them. I’m afraid I’ll put my hand through them. Or my head. Each time I smoke I want to stub the cigarette out on my leg. I’m too afraid to go near the back shed because that’s where the Stanley knife (box cutter) is. I went to the supermarket and all I wanted to buy was food that I know will make me sick.

I hate this trigger business. I hate the way it sneaks up on you. One minute everything is fine – the next, I’m “vortexing” out. I messaged my therapist earlier today to see if she could talk to me. I haven’t heard from her. Rationally I know she’s probably busy, but inner critic and inner child are going gang-busters with over analysis.

I’m so exhausted by all this. I’m not sure I can keep doing it.

Puzzled and pointless

I’m still feeling wretched. I have moments of feeling ok – like the first twenty seconds of being awake, until I remember what has happened – and then I fall apart again. I thought I was ok to go to work today, but as soon as I left the house the tears started again (actually they started in the shower, but you don’t need those details). It’s like in the early days when I didn’t understand how the world could go on; when everything in my world seems to be falling apart.

I can’t sleep. I’m not hungry. Everything just feels wrong and I feel broken. The food thing has me puzzled, as I’ve traditionally been captain of the binge eating club to squash any emotions. Why not this time, too?

I haven’t been able to see my therapist yet. She wasn’t able to see me last night as there were workmen at her office. I’m pleased she didn’t subject me to them or their noise, as tradesmen are a big trigger for me. I’ll see her tonight instead. (For those of you worried that I won’t go, I will. She shuffled another client around to see me, so I will go, if for no other reason that not to muck her about given she did this.)

I’m puzzled that you all seem to think this wasn’t my fault, that there’s not something inherently wrong with me. If there’s not, then why can’t I find anyone who wants to be with me? For some reason the universe has seen fit to deny me the things I most desire. I don’t understand why.

I never thought there was much hope, but my therapist thought there was. So I put my faith in her. Silly, silly me. That’s only led to heartache and pain, as I should have known it would.

There seems no point to anything anymore. I can’t see how I’ll get over this. I know I can’t go back to hiding in loneliness and isolation. But I also can’t go forward. That’s where my thoughts turn to the pills.

Not-so-Nice – Part 2

Hi everyone

I just wanted to say thank you for all your messages of love and support since yesterday. Ordinarily I’d write you individual replies in the comments, but I’m just not up to that right now, I’m sorry. I do appreciate you all though.

I have cried so much I look like I have black eyes, my nose is raw and I have used an entire box of tissues.

I’m still gutted. I feel raw, fragile and numb all at the same time if that is possible.

The Wonder Therapist, bless her, has offered to see me tonight (Sunday), because she knows how upset I am. She probably also knows how things like this are a fast track to self-loathing for me.

This has brought up all those old feelings of wanting to hurt myself, and worse. It doesn’t matter. Don’t say that it does, because it doesn’t. For all her “wonders”, the Wonder Therapist was wrong about one thing. It doesn’t matter. I don’t matter. I was a fool to think I did, or that I could have a relationship and family like any “normal” person.

In other news, one of my other Polyvore collages won 3rd place in a competition about isolation. Great (said with all the sarcasm in the world, because I really couldn’t care less right now).

Fear and loathing in…

Well, you know I don’t live in Las Vegas, but “fear and loathing Down Under” didn’t quite have the same ring.

A lot has happened since my last post. Too many twists and turns to describe in detail. What I did want to talk about is this:

Funny how you can be travelling along kinda nicely, if a little miserable, but trying hard to believe in the faith that others have in you, and then you do something that makes you feel completely and utterly ashamed of yourself. Disgusted. Appalled. Filthy and rotten to the core. A dirty, rotten scoundrel*.

Yep, that’s me.

I’m not going into details, but trust me when I say I’m disgusting. I haven’t been able to shower enough to wash off this scunge. I haven’t wanted to write for fear of infecting you. And I certainly don’t want to talk to my therapist about it (though I will, my Inner Compass is good at keeping some common sense, even when the rest of me completely abandons all rationality).

And, yes, it has made me want to do things to myself that I haven’t done for quite a while.

For those of you thinking this is just my Inner Critic talking again: it’s not. She’s very quiet at the moment. She’s just sitting smugly in the corner filing her nails. It’s a shame the rest of me couldn’t follow her lead.

* Use of movie titles unintentional and of no psychological significance, other than perhaps that I am so pathetic that I cannot even to find my own words to describe how I feel.

Searching for safety

As most of you know, I had major surgery a few weeks ago. This was the first time in a very long time that I’ve been in hospital – either as a patient or as a visitor – and I haven’t stolen something.

That’s right. Confession time: I have kleptomania in hospitals.

I have a rare collection of hospital cutlery, soaps, moisturisers, scissors, tape, water jugs, pillow cases, heat packs…. almost anything I could lay my hands on.

Why? Who knows. What I do know is the anxiety that usually overwhelms me in hospitals that is momentarily calmed by a bit of thieving.

My therapist thinks it’s about having the “opportunity”. I know she’s the Wonder Therapist, but this time I think she’s wrong. I think it’s about a search for safety.

I can remember the first time I tried to hurt myself. I think I was about 10 or 12, or somewhere around there. I tried to break my hand so that I’d get a few days in hospital – respite from the hell at home.

So I think the kleptomania is about a search for safety. Lifting a token of safety from the safest of environments to take with me and keep me safe when at home.

I didn’t feel a need to do that this time. I don’t know why. More of the magic of therapy, perhaps?