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Topics - Kat

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Announcements / A Bit of Good News...Trauma & Education
« on: August 07, 2019, 05:20:55 PM »
Hello all!

It's been a while since I last posted.  I just thought I'd share the fact that baby steps are being taken to address trauma in the educational environment.  I'll soon be going to a two day training on trauma and resilience in the classroom.  I'm also in an online master's program where the concentration is trauma and resilience in the educational setting.  I was surprised and thrilled to see such a program exists.  I'm on the second course right now, so we haven't gotten to the courses for our concentrations.  I'll have to come back, and share what those are like.

Medication / Experiences quitting antidepressants cold turkey?
« on: January 04, 2019, 11:34:51 PM »
Hey all!  I'm wondering if any of you have quit antidepressants abruptly without tapering off and what the consequences were.

Bit of background info: Jumped around from psychiatrist to psychiatrist for med management for years.  Finally got my general practitioner to prescribe them for me (which is unusual, in the U.S. at least).  Last two years he prescribed full year's worth at my annual check-up.  Pharmacy had prescription(s?) on file and filled my order each month. 

I had been taking 400mg of Wellbutrin and 20mg of Lexapro daily for last 10 years.  (I was also taking 25-50mg of amitriptyline, but not regularly.  They were initially prescribed by neurologist for headaches.)

Due to a combo of bad timing & a mix-up at the pharmacy, the pharmacy "sent back" the meds that I was due to pick up at the end of December.  They won't fill my prescription until they get dr.'s ok.  With the holidays, they've not been able to contact him and won't give me anything to take while I wait.  Truthfully, I haven't tried to fix any of this myself.

Sooo...holidays (always rough) + off work (lack of structure/schedule throws me big time) + therapist of 15 yrs on vacation (always tough, but was getting easier) + no meds = big time crash--excessive sleep, binge drinking, self-harm, suicidal ideations, etc.

I can't tell which of this mess of horrible feelings are situational regarding holidays, etc. and which are due to being unmedicated.  It's been 12 days since my last dose.  The dizziness and feelings of wanting to crawl out of my skin have pretty much subsided.  I'm still super weepy and hate life. 

I'm not sure I want to go back on them, but if I'm going to feel the way I do currently because of not taking them, then I need to really rethink things.

General Discussion / Recurring Dream
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:23:28 PM »
I walked into my therapist's office yesterday and told her that I remembered that I'd killed someone.  Obviously (hopefully), I haven't.  But the other night a "memory" popped to mind that I'd killed someone long ago and had forgotten about it.  It was actually a memory of a recurring dream I've had my whole life that I'd forgotten about. 

I used to dream quite often that I'd killed someone and that I had to keep it secret.  The dream was so real that I was often convinced that I actually had.  I had it quite often when I was younger, probably during college.  And then I've had it off and on since.  It's something that had come up in therapy a few times long ago.  I had forgotten about the dream until the memory came up during waking hours. 

I became curious about the dream because it feels so real.  It always brings up intense feelings of guilt, shame, and fear.  I looked online and found that quite a few people have experienced the same thing.  People shared that they too were stunned by how real it seemed and how they'd been convinced that it was true.  One gal said that she was a child in her dream.  She had killed another child and buried her in concrete that was poured in her backyard.  She knew that the part about concrete being poured when she was a child was true, so she ended up grilling her parents and some childhood friends because she was convinced she'd killed a kid. 

The thread I was reading was on Quora where one can go to just ask a question for people to respond to.  It wasn't for people who've suffered trauma or anything like that.  A few people did offer up the fact that they are recovering alcoholics and tied the dreams to that.  I'm just wondering if any of you have experienced this dream or something similar.

General Discussion / excessive sleep
« on: December 30, 2017, 11:42:47 PM »
Does anyone else swing between getting too little sleep or disrupted sleep to sleeping excessively?

I'm currently on break from work.  I've been off for a little over a week now.  I've got a pretty stressful job and I've also got two kids--13yrs and 10yrs.  Now that I'm on break, I'm sleeping 15 hours a day fairly regularly.  It's nothing new.  I can sleep that much on a weekend as well.

I used to not be able to get to sleep, but that's not as much of a problem anymore.  I do know that I typically wake a lot during the night.  I'm taking meds that make me sleepy at night, so getting to sleep isn't much of an issue. 

I went out yesterday.  That takes a lot of energy.  Today I didn't wake until 1:00 in the afternoon.  Now it's starting to look like evening and I'm feeling out of it and very sad.  I don't like it. 

I spoke to my T the other day and mentioned how much I was sleeping.  She said that she doesn't think I realize just how much I'm handling internally that sucks up a lot of energy.  Maybe she's right?

Recovery Journals / Kat's 3 Good Things
« on: December 25, 2017, 09:32:09 PM »
1.  My children
2.  This forum
3.  Laughter

Successes, Progress? / Stayed Sober!
« on: December 25, 2017, 09:30:29 PM »
It's now been over a week since my last binge drinking episode.  I did have two beers yesterday.  I was planning to avoid any and all alcohol.  I was at a party with family and decided to have the beers.  I realize I was playing with fire, but I was sure to stop well before I headed home so that I wouldn't be tempted to stop for more beer on the way home.  Now I just need to get through this evening with family without resorting to old, unhealthy habits. 

BTW, It's also the second year in a row that I've gotten up Christmas morning without a hangover! 

General Discussion / Relationship with God? An unbeliever's questions...
« on: December 23, 2017, 09:57:50 PM »
I wasn't brought up religious.  My mother had had brain cancer when she was 19 and decided at that time that she didn't believe in God because God would not have allowed her to become so ill.  Her father was a Jehovah's Witness for a while.  During his last years of life he was a member of the World Wide Church of God, which was later deemed a cult, from what I understand.  My father's side of the family was not religious either, as far as I know.  I do remember one of his sisters would occasionally take my cousins to church, but usually only on Easter or at Christmas.  I took a course on world religions in college.  My mother was upset about it and asked angrily if it meant I was going to be a "Holy Roller" from then on.  I also took a Bible as literature course, but didn't learn much from it. 

As I've gotten older, I've started to believe more and more that there is something larger out there.  I have a number of friends who are Christians, so I'm able to talk to them some about spirituality.  I took what's called an Alpha Course at a local church.  The course was supposed to be an introduction to the Christian church for outsiders with questions.  Most of the people in the course were church members who were maybe trying to reaffirm their beliefs.  The course was taught with an assumption of belief in God. For instance, a question for discussion was, "How do you exhibit your Christianity at work?"  Um...slow down there...  It was tough to fit in there.

And that's where I'm going with this.  I feel like I want more, but I'm not sure how to fit in or even gain access so that I may someday fit in.  I've told my friends it feels like there's this secret club and everyone in it uses special language and knows all the inside stories and I'm on the outside feeling lost.  I feel like the wallflower at the dance who would like to join in, but doesn't even know how to get herself onto the dance floor.

I'm not sure what I'm looking for.  I think I'd like to be in a small group of people who read through the bible and learn together, but I don't know when those classes start, etc.  When and how do I jump on board?

Anyhow, last night I was thinking about emailing the pastor at a church near my house just to ask these things and introduce myself because just showing up at church on Sunday morning never did much to help orient me.  As I was thinking about this and what I might say, I heard my name being shouted sharply inside my head.  I couldn't tell if it was my mother's or my father's voice shouting at me.  Wow.  Talk about an introject.  It was clear "they" didn't want me to go down this path.  Interesting.  What else are they keeping me away from that could be enriching my life?

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Tired of this...
« on: November 24, 2017, 09:23:41 PM »
It seems my inner critic is amped up and on a mean streak.  All I can hear is how awful I am, and how I'll never accomplish any of the things I'd like to.  My mind won't shut up.  It's been talking a mile a minute for days.  I'm not sleeping well.  I've been getting severe headaches.  I haven't been eating well or working out.  I've been drinking too much.  All of that isn't helpful and only fuels my inner critic. 

I finally showered just now.  I cried through the entire shower.  I feel like hurting myself--but I won't.  I refuse to.  But the desire is there and strong, like I deserve to be punished.  (Though I know I don't.)  It's hard to find compassion for myself right now. 

I hate periods like these.  Thankfully, I'm more able to see that they are just periods of time, temporary.  I know things will get better, but while I'm down in this hole knowing there's more up there where I'll be able to breathe and rest, it doesn't help much.  I'm still just sitting in a pit. 

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Pi**ed off...**Rant coming...**
« on: October 26, 2017, 05:18:38 AM »
I'm sick of this mind Fu**ery.

I was doing so well there for a while.  I was feeling better.  I was actually happy.  My therapist has been telling me how much less fragmented I am, how much better I'm doing.  I stopped the "hate and run" * I used to pull on her.  It felt so much like I was almost...recovered?  Or at least like I was on the right track.

But then more * came up. I know my mom was crazy.  I remember her crazy and how it affected me.  I know my dad's response to my mom wasn't normal...his excusing and colluding.  But I always felt like there was more.  He'd done something more.  I felt it.  BUT I CAN'T REMEMBER IT.  I can't KNOW it.

There have been so many clues and "data points" as my therapist likes to call them that my father did something much more than simply look the other way when my mom was acting out.  Everything says he sexually abused me.  Everything except my memory.  I remember no such thing.

But then there are these "something like memories" that keep coming up that tell me what did happen.  Or do they?  What are these "memories"?  What the * am I supposed to believe?  Am I to believe what I cannot ever know for sure?

My therapist says the "something like memories"--the images, enactments, body sensations, etc.--are to be believed.  My somatic experiencing therapist says my body and my compromised nervous system are to be believed.  But why should I believe either of them?

I don't know what to believe.

Successes, Progress? / A couple of things...
« on: October 01, 2017, 07:27:04 PM »
I have a Healing the Inner Child CD that leads the listener through visualizations wherein the adult you goes back in time to rescue the little you from a time you remember being abused, were feeling alone and scared, etc.  I'd gone through a couple of the visualizations in the past.  (I do them in my car on the way to work, which might not be optimal.)  I hadn't used the CD in a year or so and had actually forgotten all about it.

I recently rediscovered the CD and decided to give it a go.  This was a few days after a teenage boy acting as protector inside of me kind of came forward in therapy.  I started the visualization, but felt like it was the protector who needed the adult me to "rescue" him.  I shut the CD off and visualized a whole scenario in which I was able to get the protector to forgive himself for not being powerful enough to stop the abuse.  Then the two of us went in to save little me.  The visualization sort of unfolded on its own and I felt like I was along for the ride as witness.  I wept the entire time I was doing the visualization.  It was really powerful.  The times I'd done the visualizations before I didn't feel much emotion.  Maybe I wasn't ready before. I felt very peaceful and content after the visualization.  I feel like it has made a big difference.

Another step in the direction of health and wholeness is that I sent out an invite to a number of my colleagues to join me in a challenge that will take place next year around this time.  A store that sells outdoor gear puts on the challenge each year.  It involves hiking to the summit of the three tallest mountains in my area.  Participants can choose to try to complete it in 24 hours, 3 consecutive days, 3 consecutive weeks, or 3 consecutive months.  I think we'll be doing the 3 months challenge.  I got a really enthusiastic response from my colleagues.  I plan to set up a Facebook group for us so that we can stay motivated by checking in with one another's progress, get help, share tips, etc.  We're also going to do some smaller hikes throughout the year in preparation.  This is something I never would have organized in the past.  I would have been too fearful to put myself out there.  I'm hoping this helps with my tendency to isolate so much of the time.

General Discussion / Complete Other...
« on: September 09, 2017, 03:53:00 AM »
It's so strange to be in the position of the "listener" or "witness" to an other's pain.  It is especially difficult when you're unsure how much of your own experience to share. 

In my job, I came to meet a young gal whose family is completely dysfunctional.  She was in inpatient treatment and is now in outpatient treatment--all while trying to finish high school.  On the one hand, it's so cool to see a young person with so much insight and understanding in regard to the dysfunctional system she's imprisoned by.  As awful as it is, I can see how she's used it to empower herself.  On the other hand, it's so very painful not to be able to affect change.  It's so difficult to witness the pain of an other who simply wants to experience the unconditional love of a parent, but gets nothing but criticism, lack of support, and false accusations. 

 My heart hurts for this girl.  Yet, I can't help but be impressed by the fierceness of her Spirit.  She amazes me.  But I worry that I will not be able to show HER that fierceness within her and let her really, deeply know her own power.  I so desire to somehow let her see that energy, that power that will take her so very far beyond from where she came.

Other / Nightly Visitor
« on: August 26, 2017, 05:14:05 AM »
Well, here it is again.  It barged in without knocking and bumped up against all the furniture before sitting down hard on my chest.  Itís so * heavy and sitting so high up on my chest itís almost on my throat.  Itís so hard to breathe, hard to swallow.

I tried to outwit it and go to bed early before it came looking for me, but my procrastination cost me.  Nine thirty.  Nine thirty and I slipped into bed hoping it would see the lights out, hear the white noise machine and the soothing music playing and leave me alone. 

Itís not that easily fooled or deterred.

It started as thoughts flitting in though the open windows and into my mind.  Thoughts of divorce.  Plans.  Questions.  The thoughts, once planted, quickly grew into fears.  The fears sent out tendrils across my face that pulled at muscles, making them tense.
I saw what was happening and tried to stop it.  I tried to concentrate on my breathóinhale deeply, hold one two, exhale, repeat.  Ok, maybe Iíll be ok.  Relax your muscles.  Inhale deeply, hold one two, exhale, repeat.

It responded by turning up the soothing music and changing the notes so that they scratch my ears.  It threw sand into my eyes to make them ache and shrivel.  It latched a vise to my temples and slowly began to turn the crank.

I canít * breathe.  Thereís a lump in my throat.  My eyes ache.  My head feels full of cotton thatís been soaked in acid.  The lump is turning into nausea.  My whole body aches now.

Iím suffocating.

The worst of this is that I know what will make it go away, but it is what I most hate, most distrust, most abhor, detest, loathe, despiseÖ  Alcohol.

Why canít it just leave me the * alone?  Let me sleep.  Let me relax.  Let me breathe.

Why wonít it just go away?  What does it want from me?  What is its purpose? 

I ask. Beg to know.  But it just laughs.

Family of Origin (FOO) / Denial
« on: August 11, 2017, 11:34:52 PM »
I got a text from one of my sisters with a link to an article about a big research study being done on depression and bipolar disorder.  Even though our mother has severe borderline disorder, my sister believes any depression anyone in the family experiences is simply an inherited chemical imbalance. 

So, my borderline mother had four children in a span of four years.  I am the youngest.  My father was not the type to help out with diapers and such.  My maternal grandmother died from colon cancer when I was about two years old.  My mother often talked about being the only one to take care of her while she was dying. 

A perfectly sane person would have had a time of it trying to care for a dying mother and four children under five.  I know I can't do anything about it, but the way my sisters minimize what happened to us is frustrating and infuriating. 

I texted back saying that my bouts of depression are symptoms of complex-ptsd which is a developmental disorder.  But then I  added "I guess the resulting brain development could be similar to that of people with chronic depression--low serotonin and all that."  She said a genetic test would tell you if that's true.  BUT IT'S GOT NOTHING TO DO WITH GENETICS.

Sorry.  I'm just angry at the level of denial and also the way in which I'm completely misunderstood.

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Feeling Haunted
« on: August 10, 2017, 01:11:42 AM »
I've been having lots of vivid dreams lately.  I've also been sleeping an average of 12 hours a night.  Some of the dreams I remember, but most I don't.  Yesterday I felt like something from my dreams was haunting me throughout the day.  It felt like I'd had a bad dream, and the dream was just out of my grasp.  I also felt like something really horrible had happened or I'd done something horrible or something horrible was going to happen. 

I ended up binge drinking last night.  I haven't done that for a while.  Today I'm feeling all the shame and self-loathing that comes with the drinking.  I was able to speak to my therapist. I keep asking her if it was really that bad--my past.  My mother has borderline personality disorder, and I have memories of events surrounding her, but I've also come to believe my dad sexually abused me.  I have no memories of it, though.  That's the part that drives me nuts.  My T told me she believes it was really, really bad what I survived, but how can I know?  I guess, there are plenty of clues, but it's so hard to make sense of any of this without concrete memories.  I worry I'm making things out to be worse than they really were. 

General Discussion / Question Re: Experiences in Therapy (TW)
« on: August 04, 2017, 05:32:41 AM »
I wanted to describe something that happened in therapy today to see if anyone has experienced anything somewhat similar.

Background Info: My mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder.  Borderline mothers can be any one or any combination of the following: Queen, Waif, Witch or Hermit.  Mine was waif, witch, and hermit.  She was very verbally abusive.  During the course of individual therapy, I've come to believe my father molested me, but I have no concrete memories of it.

I went into therapy without much on my mind, or so I thought. We were just getting started and my therapist was just kind of checking in.  She said something and a voice in my head responded immediately with, "Shut the * up."  I told my therapist this and we started to explore whose voice it might have been and why they wanted her to shut up. 

Pretty soon thereafter, I felt as if my whole body was physically shrinking, and I had become a small girl.  As we explored this feeling, I mentioned that if felt like I was in elementary school and had been sent outside.  I was in trouble and was hanging my head.  I used to cry a lot in school so teachers would often send me out to go put water on my face and calm down.  I told my therapist it felt like I'd been sent out for crying.

All the while that this was going on, I had an urge to hit myself in the head or hurt myself somehow. 

And then the muscle spasms or involuntary muscle movements began.  This often happens just before I go into another state that often involves "something like memories" to play out.  My arm muscles become very tense, but also my arms or legs sometimes jerk involuntarily.  When the muscle stuff began, I said, "Oh, man..."  My therapist understood what I meant--that I could feel something coming up and that I didn't want to deal with it.  She assured me she knows how much I hate it, but also asked to be curious about what was coming up if I could.

Out of nowhere, I got an image of a dead squirrel.  The image was static and less like an actual image than a feeling of a dead squirrel being presented.  (I know, confusing.)  I found myself saying that my mother had cut the head off of a squirrel and was holding it up over the kitchen sink.  Then I got an image of guts coming out of the squirrel.  I began to gag IRL and had to breathe to steady myself.  I again found myself talking from the perspective of me as a child.  I told my therapist that I thought my mother was going to cook the squirrel and that she was mocking us (me and my sisters, I assume), for being so disgusted.  I got a sense that my mother was telling us that if it's good enough for a dog to eat, it's good enough for us.  She then got angry at us for being so grossed out by the dead squirrel and told us to "just get out...go!" 

So, what I'm wondering is if others have experienced bodily signals letting you know you might be switching states or are about to have something come up--memories/images?  The other thing is that I doubt this whole thing with a squirrel happened, yet it was all just sort of revealed to me.  Have any of you experienced this type of "remembering"?  I'm just wondering if any of the way this played out feels at all familiar to anyone.

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