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Messages - Reboot

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Recovery Journals / Re: Reboot's Recovery Journal
« on: October 06, 2020, 07:19:37 PM »
Thanks to you also, marta1234 and sanmagic7!

Reboot

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Recovery Journals / Re: Reboot's Recovery Journal
« on: October 06, 2020, 06:42:19 PM »
owl25,

Thanks for the comments. The symptom record was developed from a resource available here on the downloads page (https://www.outofthestorm.website/s/CPTSD-Symptom-Tracking-Form-2018.pdf), in combination with an Excel workbook that I had been using to record symptoms using forms from David Burns' Feeling Good Handbook. In 2008, my first therapist assigned reading of the first four chapters of Burns' book. I made Excel spreadsheet versions of the Anxiety Inventory and Depression Summary forms that he presents in his book. I filled them out a few times and then stopped. In 2018, my second therapist recommended that I see a psychiatrist. I had restarted filling out the Burns' forms daily and I asked her what I should share with the psychiatrist. She recommended that I prepare a two week summary of the Burns' forms. I took it a step further and prepared a monthly summary spreadsheet that summarized each days Anxiety Inventory and Depression Summary. I have that data from early September 2018 to mid June 2019, when I moved out of my office at work (that was in response to being retraumatized by the second therapist, who was also [and still is] a NASA employee), I retired in early August 2019. When I came across the CPTSD symptom tracking form, I adapted it into my Excel workbook system. I can share it if you'd like. It does use unsigned macros written by me, so it requires that you enable unsigned macros, which can be a computer security issue if you're not careful.

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Recovery Journals / Reboot's Recovery Journal
« on: September 08, 2020, 12:53:44 AM »
Hey Everyone,

It has been almost four months since my introductory post. I have been fully occupied by family, summer projects, and over the last two weeks, a new semester of school (taking Archaeology, Anthropology of Religion, Elementary Statistics, and General Psychology). While I have been tracking my symptoms and have read Internal Family Systems Therapy, 2nd Edition & The Body Keeps the Score in that time, I have not been devoting any real time to self-care other than a few minutes of autogenics sporadically.

In mid-July, I did find a new therapist because I felt that I needed support while I was working out how to proceed with IFS on my own. He has some limited IFS training but uses it only in a family therapy setting. While he seems to have quite a bit greater understanding of trauma than any of my previous therapists, he says that he "sees therapy through the lens of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy." I think that CBT is fatally flawed, both in general and more specifically for treating anyone with trauma in their past. I see his help as being temporary while I get a secure footing with self-guided IFS.

Today, for the first time, I searched for IFS-related guided mediations and used a short one for meeting protectors and then I journaled my experience. It was the first entry in my mental health journal since June. I am hoping that some of you may have experience in self-guided IFS and can point me toward methods that worked for you.

As an aside, I am a Christian and while I have used Buddhist or other guided meditations, I strongly prefer guided meditations that are more in the vein of being "dogma-free." I have previously seen "The Mindful Movement" as mostly generic, but I am trying to work on developing an IFS orientation right now. I am not a visual person, so I have a little bit of a handicap, I think.

Sláinte Mhath,

Reboot

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Thank you, Hope67, owl25, Kizzie, and Three Roses,

While the day before was a good day, yesterday was a bad day. Perhaps the worst in a year. Today was carrying over from yesterday. But reading your welcomes has lifted my spirits and turned my day around.

Three Roses, The Body Keeps the Score is one of the books that I have already purchased but not yet read, as is Jay Earley's Self-Therapy. Based on your recommendation, I also bought Internal Family Systems Therapy.

Once again, thanks for the welcome,

Sláinte,

Reboot

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Hey All,

You can call me Reboot. I am a survivor of relational trauma that continued over a period of three decades. I have a history of significant episodes of depression that extends back to at least my sophomore year of high school, probably to my seventh-grade year. I have the constellation of symptoms that are labeled as complex PTSD (CPTSD).

My mother had a life-long mental illness that went effectively untreated. I believe that my trauma resulted from her illness. My trauma began sometime in my early childhood and continued until my mother disowned me at 30 years of age. She rejected me because I tried to establish boundaries in our relationship to protect my wife and my children from her illness. We never spoke again and we were only in the same room once in the last 27 years of her life, at my father's memorial service.

I experienced episodes of emotional abuse at my mother's hands throughout my relationship with her. I know that these episodes came both early & often. I have only vague, generic memories of the early stuff. I don't remember even once being angry at my mother. I do remember being shamed by her, being afraid of her. I also remember some good times with her. What I most clearly remember, though is, what I now recognize as emotional flashbacks. These emotional flashbacks sometimes left me frozen and in a state of fear of my own mother that bordered on absolute terror. I now also recognize several other flavors of emotional flashbacks that, while less extreme, are much more common, and long-lasting.

I have seen three therapists and two psychiatrists. I don't believe that any of them were qualified to help me to understand and deal with my condition at the time that I saw them. I had unacceptable side effects on two different antidepressants. The Trazodone prescribed for insomnia, which developed only after starting therapy, was completely ineffective for me, even at three times the max dose on the label (still below the max therapeutic dose of Trazodone when used as an antidepressant). I did try CBD and Oleamide after the prescription antidepressants failed, neither of them seemed to be effective for me, either. I am not taking any psychoactive medications now.

One year and twenty days ago, my second therapist retraumatized me, through words that I believe she chose deliberately and with premeditation. Though she did harm me grievously, I don't believe that she intended to do so.

I experienced symptoms during the first six weeks following the retraumatization more intense than any that I can remember. To avoid this second therapist (my employer's Employee Assistance Program [EAP] psychologist), I vacated my office at work in mid-June and accelerated my retirement to the beginning of August. I teleworked from home for the last six weeks of my career. I have continued to experience symptoms that I believe are attributable to the retraumatization to this day. They are gradually diminishing in intensity and frequency.

Last fall, after ending therapy with my third therapist, I read Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, and it has proved helpful. When I read Pete Walker's description of the Flight-Freeze Hybrid, I saw myself in the mirror, clearly, and understood myself in a new way. I also purchased Richard Grannon's emotional literacy course and started it but didn't complete it. I'm thinking about restarting it.

In recent days I have felt much, much better than I was feeling a year ago at this time. I have been feeling well enough, that perhaps I am finally ready to set out on the journey of finding my way back to the "mentally healthier me" that I encountered briefly just before I was retraumatized. Because I am a "Flight-Freeze" type, I am not likely to return to therapy anytime soon. The risk of rejection by another therapist is too great in my mind, whether that risk is real or not. The difficulty of finding a suitable therapist within my HMO's network also makes it unlikely that I will return to therapy. Because I am "Flight-Freeze" type, and older, I have no living personal friends. I have always been "high functioning" for a relational trauma survivor, even during periods of depression. I have reasonable social skills for an extreme introvert. I have hundreds of acquaintances, but no living personal friends beyond my wife and children. However, I do realize that I need some support and that brought me here.

On my good days, I realize that I am very fortunate for a survivor of decades of relational trauma. After very nearly 42 years, I am still married to my high-school sweetheart, who loves me a great deal, despite how much I have hurt her over the years. But there are limits to how much she can support me. She experienced her own trauma, but she is more resilient than I am. She can't understand why I can't just "put it behind me" since my mother is dead (she died of cancer in 2014 at age 81) and "can't hurt me anymore." My second therapist didn't understand that I was not yet properly prepared to put it all behind me, either. As a direct result of her failure to understand, I was retraumatized. In a very real sense, my mother can and does still hurt me, dead or not.

I haven't yet scored myself on the OOTS Complex PTSD Symptom Tracking Form. I did sit down and consider each of the six symptoms, individually and reflectively. This led me to the understanding that, even though today is a good day, I am still profoundly impacted by my trauma. I am now aware of symptoms of varying intensities in all six categories nearly every day.

I have several more books lined up to read now that the spring semester is over. Most of them are recommended on this website. After retiring from a career in engineering and project management with the federal civil service, I enrolled at my local community college and just finished my second semester of work on parallel Associate's degrees in Anthropology and Psychology. Schoolwork has taken the place of professional work as a form of self-medication that I use to mask my symptoms.

I am here because I now know that I need to be able to talk to people who understand what it's like to walk around knowing that if you're not extremely cautious and you dig too deeply into the Pandora's Box of your emotions, that the full weight of the shame accumulated through over thirty years can descend on you with the same shattering intensity that you felt when you were three. I hope that I can find such people here.

Sláinte,

Reboot

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