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Topics - Snookiebookie2

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Therapy / Is it time to switch therapists
« on: April 25, 2021, 02:45:55 PM »
Hi guys

I've been with my therapist for about 4 years.  I went every week for the first 7or 8 months, then every fortnight for another 7 or 8 months, then monthly for 4 or 5 months.  Since then I've only had and hoc appointments when things get on top of me.

I have told my therapist EVERYTHING.  She knows all the traumas I've been through, and ask the people who've been in my life. She is very good at remembering all these, especially as I don't see her regularly anymore.

She is a relational therapist, and looks at relationships and how we interact, and how those interactions make us feel.  She has made me realise how damaging my mother was in my life. She also listened to me, without judgment, with regards to my relationship with my teenage daughter - which was very turbulent when I started therapy.  My relationship with my daughter is much better and stable - but I also think this is due to her needing me during lockdown.

I can genuinely say that my therapist had helped me with lots of issues.  She also helps to have someone to talk to, as she knows all about me. But sometimes she seems genuinely stumped and is unable to come up with ideas or resources when I have a specific problem.

I spoke with her about six or seven months ago as my daughter was exhibiting eating disorder behaviours.  I asked her a direct question of how I feel with it. She seemed uncertain. However by the end of the session she had suggested that the behaviour was the symptom, not the cause. This was helpful. She did send me some helpline details afterwards.

Most of my issues boil down to repeated issues, i.e. self esteem, inner critic, perfectionism. And these issues are usually triggered by work. So the sequence of events are, that I'll get wound up, have a therapy session, rant, and then go away until the next time I get overwhelmed.

I've come to realise, and to partially accept that changing jobs won't solve my problems. I am always going to be me, and act like me.  So I need some tactics for dealing with things when I'm overwhelmed.  I also need some practical ideas of keeping myself from reacting and the pressure building. I also need a way to track my mood/feelings, so I spot that I'm spiralling before things get bad. 

Last Wednesday I had a therapy session, it was quite close to my last session. As a consequence I was as wound up. I was more lucid and articulate. 

I asked my therapist for tactics and self help methods. She had nothing to offer, but was due to have a catch up session with her supervisor and said she'd raise it.  She did ask pertinent questions as to the roots cause.  I explained my fear of being told off or being in trouble.  We explored that, and the conversation turned to my mum.  My therapist agreed with all the points I was raising.  I felt better for talking about things.

It's a few days after my appointment, and I've not heard back from my therapist. I was hoping she, or her supervisor, could recommend some methods of dealing with things. But they haven't been in touch.  I can only assume they have nothing to recommend.

So, in wondering if there's any point in continuing with her.  It's great that she knows all about me, and who's who in my life.  She has been helpful most of the time. She also has allowed a few sessions to over run when we've been making progress.

The drawbacks are that she's never given me a diagnosis (although that's not uncommon in the UK). And sometimes I think she's not interested in what I say - but it might be that she's just letting me rant. Maybe she is just seeing her role as someone who listens.  I've often said that I don't know what to do, how to deal with things - she just looks blankly at me. Even if I ask her what options are available, she is reluctant to subject exercises or tactics. This maybe down to her style but leaves me feeling frustrated and ignored.

The thought of starting with someone else is daunting. If have to go over old ground again, and we'd have to take time to get to know each other.  Then there's the cost of those sessions - it'd have to be private treatment (i.e. not NHS, and I'm not insured).  But the main reason that puts me off is finding a good fit - it's hard to find someone you feel comfortable with and like.

Ideally, if I did find a new therapist, it'd be someone who knows how to deal with CPTSD. But it's not easy in the UK, as it's not widely recognised.  And when you search for an experienced CPTSD therapist, it picks up people with experience of dealing with PTSD or trauma.   Is that the same thing??

So I'm stumped what to do now.

Recovery Journals / Snookie's shame journal
« on: February 16, 2021, 02:41:18 PM »
Shame is a big problem for me.

One of the suggested tactics is to open up about what you're feeling ashamed about.   Shame like to hide in the shadows but it goes away if you shine a light right at it.

So.... here goes...

Perfectionism making my life a misery again! :fallingbricks: :fallingbricks: :fallingbricks:

Can anyone recommend a self help book? Or techique. Or website.  Anything would be appreciated.

Thank you x

General Discussion / Mindfulness meditation...or not?
« on: January 07, 2021, 07:18:23 AM »
Hi guys

One of the self help remedies that I come across is mindfulness meditation.   I've tried this periodically.  I understand the concept, that I just focus on my breath and if my mind wanders, come back to my breathing.   I understand that it's supposed to slowly train your brain to be able to redirect your attention to the here and now.

I've also read that it's not always the best thing for a trauma survivor to do.  It can be triggering and heightened the feelings of being unsafe.

It wasn't a miracle cure for me, I didn't see much difference.   I found many times where I felt just as anxious afterwards as when I stated.   It also gave me an opportunity to overthink - which felt demoralising at times.  What I did like was it was 10 minutes of silence in my day, of time for me.

At my best I was doing 10 minutes a day for about 3-4 months. Sometimes I'd use guided meditations, sometimes I'd just set a timer and focus on my breathing.

I find the concept of mindfulness itself useful.   For the last couple of weeks I've been mindful of my negative thoughts.  When they occur I imagine a pop up blocker (remember those on the internet?).  I say to myself that I don't need to experience those feelings and try to ground myself where I am.  This kind of mindfulness helps, but I'm not sure if the meditation is for me. But then I worry I'm dismissing it out of hand.

What has your experiences been?  Do you recommend it? Anything you'd recommend instead?

Employment / Terrified by my job
« on: December 31, 2020, 08:01:09 AM »
Each Monday when I log on to work from home, I genuinely feel scared. Scared at what I will find in my inbox.  The same fear is there on the other mornings, but not as bad.

I'm scared that there'll be problems.   Mistakes.  But underneath that I scared people will be angry at me.  That they will disapprove of me and think I'm useless.

Experience and time has shown that Im not really in danger of being sacked.   But that doesn't mean I will not get into difficulties and have problems.   I've trained myself and I'm still on a learning curve.  I've not had much in the way of supervision or guidance.  It's quite a difficult job that can be technical and involves money.  But I'm still sure that none of this will help. I still fear being thrown under the bus.

Essentially this is an extended emotional flashback.   First to my dad who never approved and always criticized me.  I'm still that 6 year old who was bottom of the class.

Then it's my mum, who had high standards I never matched.  But her standard were mainly appearance based, clothes and looks etc. She never considered being kind or caring important.  Or persistent.  Or clever. Etc.  I just wasn't good enough in what she judged important and what I valued didn't matter.

It's a flashback to previous jobs too.  Where I would work hard and be overlooked for promotion.   Or a job I had where I was so keen to please that I overstretched myself and made mistakes or missed something and there was no compassion shown. Or a job whete people ganged together to lie to me and made out I was lying or misunderstood the situation.   It reminds me of people pushing tasks on to me and letting me know they thought I would mess it up or I was incapable of even doing the task they were giving me!

So I know what it is.  I know the baggage I'm carrying.   I also know what my employers have done wrong.  Both my bosses have ignored enails from me.  And both are aware of my anxiety.   My head boss had pushed me away and refused to deal with me on several occasions.   I've dealt with sticky situations that I've inherited and he has literally told me he's too busy to read my emails.  I pushed for meetings only for him to disinterested and then very offhand and rude. Then he's suspended them for months at a time. 

The result of all this is that it triggers my perfectionism and shame.  I have low self esteem  and crave approval which makes feel pathetic.  This launches a vicious inner critic to compare me.  And the resulting emotional pain is intense.

I have severe back pain that I'm waiting treatment on.  This is now manifesting as abdominal pain.  I suspect its caused by the deep emotional pain I'm experiencing.

I don't have a large circle of friends and I have got to the stage where I allow myself to avoid events for the sake of my social anxiety.   So one of the few triggers is work.  Even though I work from home for 4-5 hours a day it's still extremely triggering.

I am looking for another job, but due to the pandemic this is more difficult than usual.   However I have always struggled in whatever job I have had. I am still me, with my same past and same issues. I do accept that this role is particularly bad for my emotional and mental health through.

They are recruiting for a new member of staff who will be my new direct supervisor.   This could be a good thing, but also could cause me problems if they're not supportive and are judgemental.

I'm just so fed up of this emotional turmoil.   I often cry over my job and bottle up feelings.  I just wanted to record how unhappy I felt over it.

Symptoms - Other / Permanently in flight mode
« on: December 22, 2020, 04:39:52 PM »
This morning, whilst working I realised I just didn't want to be there. My main motivation was to get through my work fast, so I could get away.  I realised that I'm constantly afraid at work and I'm in flight mode. And because of this I'm not focused on my job.

Because I'm afraid I miss things and rush.  I feel panicked.  I know that my job would be done best in a calm manner, with all my attention.

When i spot mistakes, due to lack of attention and panic, it makes things worse. Vicious cycle

I only work 5 hours a day.  How can I break this cycle.   Any tips would be welcome.


Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Battling with my daughter
« on: November 04, 2020, 07:43:43 AM »
Hi Guys

I've had a checkered history with my daughter.  My mum very quickly got between us and countered any parenting that I tried. She covertly and openly crticised everything I did.  I was absolutely scapegoated. I was considered a overly critical and mean, very strict parent.  I couldn't understand this, I was just doing what was right.

Food became a battle zone when my daughter was young. I wanted her to eat four meals at set meal times, at the table with cutlery.  Treats were just that, an occasional treat. And teeth were brushed morning and evening. 

But my mum allowed my daughter to take food off of her plate, without asking  She was allowed sweet treats anytime.  Set meal times did not exist.  She could have anything whenever she wanted. I've since found out on more than one occasion my daughter ate something to the point of making herself ill! She was constantly allowed access to coke to the point she gained weight and her teeth were being stained.  Any time I tried to object I was met with vicious resistance and anger.

My mum died 4 years ago and I've been unpicking problems since.  During lockdown I've finally reached a point where I have the right kind of connection with my daughter.

My daughter has rarely been ill but the one problem she has had on and off is cystitis.  She averages an attack every couple of years. She makes such a fuss about it and also makes it much more difficult to sort this. Shes refused to do urine samples or refused treatment in the past. All of this accompanied by shouting and tantruming.

She's recently had a bout of cystitis, but refused to take time off of school to get it sorted.  As she's 16, I told her to call the out of hours service.  Cue more shouting and tantrums.  She eventually caved and called and was prescribed antibiotics  The problem didn't go away, so with more coaxing got more antibiotics.  And we even had a visit to A & E where we were told it was likely a kidney infection and a third course of antibiotics was prescribed.

As a side issue I've noticed my daughter is eating less and less.  She's always been picky eater.  But more and more items are being added to the list.  It's impossible to plan a meal because she doesn't like something.   She has also decided to become vegan - but doesn't like beans or most vegetables!
She's practically living on bread and potatoes.  And when I serve something she does like, she always leaves some of it - regardless of how small a portion I serve.

I'm concerned that shes developing a disorder.   It's really not healthy.  I wondered if her poor diet is causing her health problem.   I have passed comments about the fact she should eat a balanced meal at mealtimes.   I've suggested that she may be causing her self harm.  I've even suggested that she will end up with an eating disorder - she smiles at that, kind of pleased.

Yesterday she came home with kidney pain and looking quite ill. Annoyed but not angry or aggressive, I asked what she'd eaten and drunk. She reacted and threw a tantrum.   She did say shed had a croissant for breakfast and potato wedges for lunch. Apparently it's the schools fault for not providing enough choices! She only ate two potatoes for tea

I called the out of hours health service for guidance about the kidney pain.  She refused to help or speak to them. She swore at me and said ahe would refuse to go to have any treatment.

It feels she is being stubborn and nasty to control us.  I am also sure that restricting her diet is a form of control too.  I know she is making out that I am the one with the problem - typical narcissistic behaviour, and casting me in a scapegoat role again.

My mother in law was a severe alcoholic for many years. She died due to the condition.   I recognize some of the behaviours in my daughter - the denial, the control and the turning on anyone when they get to heart of the problem

I don't want to be on the receiving end of this behaviour.  But I'm concerned about my daughters health.   She did finally accept treatment and will get a fourth course of antibiotics.

Employment / Disclosure at work
« on: October 12, 2020, 07:58:17 PM »
Hi Guys

I told my employer about 18 month ago that i have anxiety.  I've referred to having social anxiety with a few colleagues.

I'm pretty sure they'll be aware from the way that I act and demeanour that I struggle daily with anxiety.  But they also know that I don't take time off due to it and that I work hard.

My job is very triggering (responsibility,  lack of training and outside parties involved). 

I've often thought of disclosing my CPTSD.  But then again....

Has anyone disclosed to their employer? Good reaction or bad?  Would you consider it at the moment during the pandemic (which is causing lots of problems for employers).  Any advice?

I have it in my head that it would be easier once they know. But would it make me more ashamed?  Or more needy? Or would I use it as an excuse?


General Discussion / One thing that helped you
« on: October 03, 2020, 09:11:20 AM »
Hi guys :heythere:

I currently feel that I'm going around in circles.  I'm hitting a brick wall.  I seem to come back to the same situation: overthinking, perfectionism and shame. This causes me into dysregulation, so I'm not functioning or I resort to poor coping skills/behaviours. That causes my inner critic to go into overdrive; I make errors due to being partially disconnected/dissociated; I act weird, overshare or go into avoidance.  My body is flooded with adrenaline and cortisol. This causes more deregulation, and the spiral continues.  As, I said going round in circles. Or it's a cycle.

I just wondered what had worked for you? What helped break a cycle, when you were stuck. What was a break through for you - no matter how small.

Recovery Journals / Thoughts....(2nd journal)
« on: September 28, 2020, 06:48:37 AM »
Think it's time for a second journal. My last one was long enough.

Hi guys

Those who read my posts know that I struggle with perfectionism.  I'm looking for a self help book (or books) to help.

I have an husband with low level OCD/ADHD who can trigger my perfectionism. My daughter is very image conscious and can get tetchy if things are absolutely perfect. And finally my colleague never, ever gets anything wrong - ever! And I'm fairly clumsy so make regular errors.

It would be great to get some coping techniques and diffusion techniques (to shift the shame I feel).  Anyone got any recommendations for books?


Symptoms - Other / Trouble with fantasies
« on: August 29, 2020, 09:42:10 AM »

I saw an old thread pop up this morning, and it reminded me that I'd meant to post about this topic. I didn't want to hijack that other thread, so I've started a new one. I really hope this doesn't sound odd or strange... Please don't judge... And bear with it

I remember fantasizing since I was a young child.  My first memory was me talking out loud to myself and describing it to myself. I was probably aged 5 or 6 at the time.

Looking back I think it was a kind of dissociation, a way of escaping real life.  It was a way of comforting myself and reassuring myself.  I used to do it at bedtime quite a lot. I never recall having a bedtime story read to me, so I wonder if it was some kind of replacement.

I remember fantasizing that I had lots toys or lots of friends. Sometimes, I remember wishing I had special or psychic powers. Anything to make me more appealing to other people.

As I got older my fantasies focussed on people that I liked.  Usually pop stars or movie stars - but sometimes it was people I knew and liked.  And as I reached puberty, those fantasies obviously had some sexual element. However, the overriding theme was that the object of my fantasy was absolutely drawn to me and really really liked me. There was a lot of focus on affection and love and admiration.  It seemed to be the only unconditional approval I could find in life - albeit a day dream.

I've heard of maladaptive daydreaming, and this describes what I do. I spend most of my day focusing on the fantasy.  Again it's a way of avoiding real life and dissociating.

In my late teens I found that I got more pleasure and satisfaction if my fantasy was close to real life.  There was no point in me fantasising about me being slimmer, prettier or more intelligent - that just wasn't me, it was someone else.  There was no satisfaction in fantasizing about that person being appealing to my favourite pop star. I may as well be fantasizing about Taylor Swift being attracted to Tom Hiddleston!  The whole point was to make me feel appealing to the focus of my fantasy.  I hope that makes sense.

Whilst the other circumstances of the fantasy wasn't realistic - I'd imagine my fave star as an ordinary guy in an ordinary job - I was  pretty true to life in the fantasy.

But whilst initially my fantasies would start out okay, I would begin to struggle. My self esteem, or lack of it would kick in. I'd genuinely worry about things in my fantasy! I'm too fat. I'm a boring person. I'm ugly...etc.  Why would the focus of my fantasy even look at me, even if he was an ordinary guy.  This would stop the fantasy in it's tracks. Instead of feeling good about myself I'd start to loathe myself even more. I couldn't even enjoy my own fantasy.

This tends to go in cycles, but it is a pretty regular thing.  Something will start off a fantasy.  It'll build, and become quite consuming. Then I'll start to feel the doubts creep in, then the self hate builds, then interest falls off, then I can't escape into the fantasy.  Then something will start off, or restart an interest in a fantasy...... And on it goes.

It had kept me going during bad times. When I was the black sheep/scapegoat in the family. Then I could imagine some really nice guy was fully approving of me; which was total contrast to how real life was. In real life I was a bad person, or made to feel that I was.

I do think that it can be a problem at times, because it's an avoidance mechanism and it's addictive.  I also feel it's very sad that even in my fantasies that I find myself totally unappealing. It shows just how  much I hate I have for myself.

I think this comes down to how I view myself. If I approved of myself I wouldn't need external approval (i.e in real life) or internal approval (i.e in my fantasy world).  The blocks to approving of myself are.... Internalise voices/inner critics and shame (caused by bad experiences and by comparing).

General Discussion / Problems with reading
« on: July 30, 2020, 05:40:14 AM »

Not really sure how this post will turn out. Or even if it has some relevance to CPTSD.

Those who are familiar with my posts will know that work is my biggest trigger.  And that I struggle heavily with perfectionism and the world ceases to exist if I make a mistake.

I've come to realise that a lot of the mistakes I make are actually down to missing  things. Overlooking things. Especially when reading or looking at text.

I have a good vocabulary and a good understanding of language.  But I can often misread things. 

I've often done s complex piece of work, getting the impression that a document says one thing, only to revisit it a few weeks later to find it says something slightly different.   This can be quite unsettling for me. 

Or what usually happens is I read a document and when I reread at a later date I see new and additional information.

I have been aware most of my life that my written work will be missing words and not make sense.   I often end up reprint letters and documents repeatedly as a spot more and more errors.  This can lead to frustration and self loathing.

I often come across old emails with typos and words missing, that don't read smoothly.  And I feel shame.

Recently I discovered that you can have these documents read aloud to you, and this helps me spot those errors.

At the beginning of lock down  the agency we used issued guidelines to us. It fell to me to disseminate that information to everyone.   This was before I knew about the read aloud function.  I really struggled to understand it.  I understand the words quite well, but struggled with the overall meaning.  And struggled with composing an email to everyone - checking and redrafting and spotting more and more errors. It overwhelmed  me.

I can accept, as I work in the legal industry, that a lot of what I am dealing with will be worded in language that isn't plain English - it can all be legal terminology.  But it can happen in my home life.

Recently my husband got his car renewal quote. It was very high so he cancelled and moved to a new company.  His old insurer sent two letters. One was an automated letter to tell him they'd renewed his policy. The other much shorter letter said the same thing. I compare both - and was surprised that they were renewing despite him phoning to cancel.  I put both letters to one side for when he came home. But that evening, when we discussed the letters, I notched tge shorter letter confirmed they'd cancelled the policy as requested.  I was shocked.  I thought that I'd read that one, and that it said they'd renewed it. I felt stupid. I felt ashamed.   No harm had come of it, but I'd got it wrong.   I clearly hadn't read it properly.

If this had happened at work, in front of a colleague or supplier, then I'd have felt really really bad. I have made some mistakes at work with poor reading though.   But probably not as many as I believe.

So, how does this link to cptsd? Maybe it doesn't.  But I think there's a panic reaction going on. I'm in a constant state of mild panic, alarm and alert.  I also think I mild dissociated most of the time. My mind is rarely fully present, and nor does it want to be. I often just want to get something done and move on, rather than dwell on the here and now and concentrate on what happening.   That lack of interest and focus can cause me to miss information.

I also wonder about elements of ADHD or autism.  I'm think theres co-morbidity with cptsd.  I think reading/understanding skills with those conditions can be affected.   But I  am not sure that I have other symptoms of those conditions though.

It is written communication that seems the most difficult, - composing without errors and understanding whats written.  If its read out to me I take in the information much better and I immediately spot areas where I've missed things or made errors.

So is there a cause? Or am I slack, slapdash, useless, crazy?  Not sure, but I am conforted to find a similar root cause for most of my errors.  And now that I'm aware of this I can try to take steps to avoid it - and I can use the read aloud function on my computer.

I'm not particularly having a bad day, just feeling at a low ebb.

Can't see the point of anything. 

So what's the trigger?  Firstly, it's work. Everything is so damn hard work. But that's the job.  I carry a lot of responsibility and I am teaching myself.  I have support, but they have no more idea than I do. They usually defer to me. So the grind is getting me down.

Lockdown has brought me closer to my daughter. So that's a positive. But school resumes soon and university is possibly two years away. So I'll be loosing that connection. 

Life seems to have always been a struggle. And the future looks so grey.

I've not posted a link before, I hope it works.

This is amazing and quite liberating. I think that most of the symptoms I experience are rooted in fear.  It was my abusers who instilled that fear in me. I should feel no shame for feeling the feelings that I feel.

I hope by shining a light into to dark places within me will drive out the negative energy and feelings.

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