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Messages - LittleBoat

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Hi Kizzie,
Thanks for replying.  I do indeed see a psychiatrist, who I've seen weekly for years.  She is aware of my med history, as well as my trauma history.  I will be talking to her this week about both meds and traumatic memory loss. 

I also read one of the articles you posted about dissociative amnesia.  That seems like a pretty good "medically recognized" fit with what I experience. 

Hey All,

Not sure where to put this.  Having trouble getting my mind around the definition of dissociation, so not sure if this is the right place.

Over the last five years, my mental health has deteriorated quickly.  I have had cognitive difficulties, difficulty carrying out simple administrative or household chores, short attention span and poor short-term memory.  I have C-PTSD and PTSD, along with bi-polar and serial suicidality.  Additionally, I am on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.  (I mention these drugs, as they may be a factor in my problem.) 

I got a "clean bill of health" recently, after many tests:  No Lyme Disease, MS, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I don't feel that I have symptoms related to autoimmune diseases, which would cause brain fog.  In addition, various brain scans showed healthy brain tissue, as well as healthy operation of the fluids/blood circulating around my brain.  No signs of memory degeneration related to Alzheimers.

So....Why can't I (a former English Professor and Grant Writer, with a Ph.D.) have trouble reading books above a 10th grade level?  Why can't I focus for more than a few pages at a time?  Or even focus on getting through one page?  What happened to my attention span?  And why can't I fill out a bank deposit slip?  Why do I get daunted by a pile of laundry that needs folding?  Why do I lose the capacity to keep things straight when setting up an appointment?  Why do I lose words when I talk?  Why can't I find my way around when I drive on routes that used to come to me automatically?   Why can't I make plans and carry them out?  Or multi-task at the most basic level, even, say, doing two small things at a time or writing something down while someone is talking to me?  I used to be a terrific multi-tasker, which helped me personally and professionally. 

My world is becoming one of Post-It Notes stuck here and there and then I just lose them.   

After my positive doctors appointment, I asked her if childhood trauma could cause cognitive faltering.  She said, Yes.  As can the meds I'm on. 

I am also realizing that, while I have a slew of flashbacks, my memory channels of GOOD things and times with old friends are hampered, disjointed, with blank gaps, which make me feel like I'm sort of just pasted together without a clear, linear how things have unfolded in my life, how I've made decisions, and how I've developed. 

Any clues?  Is this dissociation?  Is short and long-term memory re-gainable?  Can anyone steer me to research on this subject?

Thank you,

Oh, thank you, Hope.  So great to hear from you and receive your kind support. 

I am going through this odd "All or Nothing" phase.  Maybe "black and white thinking"?  I feel like I have to be perfect, happy, cheerful, compliant in order not to feel abandoned.  It feels like I am in this weird game, where I have one shot--one moment where I show something in me that might not be pleasant, perfect, happy, cheerful, compliant.  After that, if I show that imperfect part of me again, I will be abandoned and alone. 

Anyone out there feel this weird trap of perfectionism or abandonment?

Hi.  I've been posting about inner and outer critics and grief, lately.  And I guess I'm posting about that stuff again.  I don't know (or trust) how accurate I am when reacting to somebody's words or actions.  I very much fear I over-react to things that others can simply brush off as small misunderstandings.  Very afraid of coming across oddly or impolitely or over-dramatically. 

A little background:  I needed to quit a successful career and go on disability, followed by a series of hospitalizations for mental illness.  I was popular and respected before these occurrences.  But once I got sick enough for the hospital, friends disappeared, almost overnight. 

Now I am finally re-establishing some connections, alliances and a small new handful of friends.  But the critics (both inner and outer) are so prominent, as is grief, that I fear I might be too much for people, that I will trigger them, or frighten them, or misread them, thereby angering them, and I will lose people again. 

I am NC with my mother and have very little contact with my FOO, because we have different perceptions of our upbringing.  I was the scapegoat.  I also never had children, and I am of the age where I am old enough to even have grandchildren.  My husband is a saint.  He takes care of me, and he also lets me know why I am a special person.  It is very important to me that I feel I am making a positive contribution in the world, that I'm adding value, that I can retain thoughtfulness, self-awareness, and be kind.  But there's so much going on in me, both through healing CPTSD and also my precarious mental health, that I lose track.  It's like I'm in a storm, and the sail has ripped, and I'm hugging the mast.  Just.....precarious.

So I am suffering.  And lonely.  And I just so fear "using somebody up" or burdening them or saying one thing too many, finding myself without friends.  Thanks for listening.  --LittleBoat

Suicide Ideation/Self Harm / Re: Recent Events Makes Me Think
« on: July 01, 2018, 01:16:12 PM »
Phoebes, I agree with your observations.  Despair is not talked about, embraced.  Nobody seems to know how to handle it.  I've gotten to the point where I realize I don't know how to tell someone I need help.  I keep smiling.  It seems easier for all concerned.  But to isolate is not the answer.  I think folks who have suicidal ideation feel caught between a rock and a hard place.  Can't ask for someone's company; can't feel safe alone.  It just adds to the despair.

General Discussion / Re: Grieving.
« on: June 30, 2018, 12:35:30 PM »
Hi Woodsgnome,
Thank you for responding.  I am kind of nervous to hear that your grieving has lasted for such a long time.  This level of work is new to me, and right now, I feel like it makes me very different from other people.  Also, that I must stay close to home and live a small life.  Because the contrast between grief and people going about their business under the bright sun seems too great a contrast to tolerate.  And I also don't have control over the sobbing.  I have to believe that grief work is worth it.  That it has some reward, some positive and restorative outcome.  Otherwise, I feel beyond help and hope.  ---All best, LittleBoat

General Discussion / Grieving.
« on: June 29, 2018, 09:42:17 PM »

I've been having more grief, lately.  Some of it has been troubling and full of despair.  But those periods also made me realize that there is a hole in my core that can't ever be filled by other's love.  It's a hole from, I'm pretty sure, a very young, pre-verbal place.  It was dreadful to sob in a ball, feeling so desolate.  But I am glad to have learned this.  Because now I won't be looking to others to fill that hole for me.  It isn't their job. 

Today I was writing to a dear friend, and I started thinking about how our culture does a terrible job with teaching people how to deal with others' grief and suffering.  I began to sob, but this was different than the desolate feeling from the day before.  I felt a sense of relief and hope and being in the present moment.  This is what Pete Walker stresses:  That grieving cleanses.  It was a short-lived but remarkable re-attachment to my present life and things that offer the simplest of pleasures. 

It is now the end of the day, and I don't feel that sense of relief and hope.  I just feel spent, exhausted, and depressed.  I think, for the amount of inner work I've been going through, that such feelings are to be expected.  Like running a marathon inside your soul.

I am wondering if, as a person moves into and through the grieving stage, the window of relief and release grows wider.  I am wondering if it is "normal" to feel just a crack of light, a small sliver of hope and cleansing, during the earliest stages of grief, and that maybe, with further grief work, that crack, that sliver, will widen slowly over time.  I hope so.  I really do.  Can anyone relate?  All best, LittleBoat

General Discussion / Re: Pete walkers book - surviving to thriving
« on: June 29, 2018, 09:22:14 PM »
Boats, I am working very hard with Pete Walker's book.  It took me a bit to get used to working with the book.  I'm sort of a "first page, go in order, get to end" linear reader.  But I realized that wasn't going to work with this book.  It's almost like taking a class, with different assignments and exercises, to do when you need to.  I learned to pay attention to his advice when he said things like, If you feel like you're going through an emotional flashback, see Appendix such and such or pages x-y.  I would stop reading, if I felt distressed and followed his instructions, going right to those pages.  There's a big post-it note, there, now.  He also urges the reader to not read from front cover to back but to review the Table of Contents and feel free to move around.   In the back is his "Tool Box."  I set up my own pages to carry out his exercises because the charts he has provided don't give me enough room to write what I need to write.  So far, I've just kept adding my own sheets of paper, folded up in the Toolbox section.  But I've since bought a looseleaf binder, to use as an accompanying workbook.  Just to structure my study of his ideas with "school supplies" has helped.  I had fun buying the supplies.  Pretty, different colored highlighters.  Ball point pens.  Big post-it notes, small ones, and just leave all these materials tucked in the book, close to bursting.  It is now filled with post-its, things I've written in the margins.  Rather sloppy, but it's my little classroom, and he's the teacher.  The book is meant to be used, as much, if not more so, than to be read word-by-word.  And going slowly as necessary, I'm finding, is essential.  All best, LittleBoat

General Discussion / Re: When Did My World Become So Small?
« on: June 25, 2018, 03:16:20 PM »
I can so relate.  I used to operate at a high level, professional, interacting with a wide range of types of people.  I travelled by myself, earned a PhD, and, for many years performed in front of large audiences.  I am now in my late 50s and this decade has not been kind to me.  After a series of annual trips to a mental hospital, I pretty much became housebound.  I developed a fear of driving.  And now I am close to bed bound.  This reclusiveness is far worse in spring and summer.  I keep the drapes closed and prefer the dark. 
CPTSD ..... does it dig in deeper as you get older?  Realize and remember more childhood trauma?  Leave you fragile and exhausted?   Thanks for reading and considering my post.  Please donít offer advice for doing and feeling things Iím not capable of.  Like ďenjoy the beautiful sunshine, reach out to friends, exercise, etc.  if I could, I would.  The inner work is all I can manage right now, and even that is movin at a snails pace because of a dirth of inner reserves.  This is just sad.  I donít respect myself.  I miss the larger world. 

Hey Littleboat, just wondering how you are doing with this whole situation now?

Hi Kizzie,  Thank you for checking in.  I am not doing well.  I am already going through deep grief and flashing back about how abandoned I was as a child.  A lot of sobbing.  A lot of isolating.  My psychiatrist tells me that I'm in an emotional flashback.  It's like a walking trance.  And the therapeutic inner work involved is exhausting right now.  (I am using the Pete Walker protocol and doing the best I can.)  That this heinous national situation, and the secrecy/vagueness surrounding it, is still a trigger.  What happened to me was done secretly and vaguely, so nobody could point to anything and say, THERE!  Stop it!  The vagueness also left me in a constant state of confusion and self-blame.   Bringing in the "law and order" rhetoric, along with Bible quotes also creates crazy thinking.  Turns everything on  its head.  And that such rhetoric is so calculated to mess with the heads of the citizenry, well I just fear for large-scale checking out (from sheer exhaustion) and falling into a mass stupor.  So, that's my answer to your question, Kizzie.  I follow you on Twitter.  You give me such hope for speaking out.  And I admire you so much for somehow holding it together, despite triggering, to do your good works.  Would you be willing to private message with me?   Thank you.

Sadie, Thank you for, basically, giving me permission to let this go for a while, instead of feeling such urgency that it is all on my shoulders to DO SOMETHING, and that a if I don't, out of self-protection, I am still a good person. 

sanmagic, I am so so sorry for how this is affecting you at such a personal level.

And Kizzie, thank you for reaching out so quickly and supporting the need to sort this out as best we can. 


General Discussion / How to Handle Current Events? Trigger Warning
« on: June 19, 2018, 01:54:49 PM »
I have read the guidelines, but I will add a trigger warning, here.  Kizzie, please contact me and remove if you think this isn't appropriate or can cause friction.

I am in a bad place, as it is.  A lot of grieving the severe abuse I received at the hands of my parents when I was little. 

But I am so triggered by the camps set up at the border, in which young children are being forced to stay.

Is there a place, here, where this topic can be discussed?

Thank you,

Emotional Abuse / Re: Is it fair to name emotional abuse?
« on: June 06, 2018, 11:08:57 AM »
Yes, it is fair.  My humble opinion.   Trying to use all "I" statements:  "I feel," "This made me feel," might not do much good in the situation you're describing  here, Sadie.  Was your mother "fair"?  Is it "fair" that you feel the need to question yourself in light of the things your mother did?  Is it "fair" that you're questioning yourself, if your mother doesn't question herself?  I think it's great that you confronted your mother directly.  I agree with sanmagic7.  It took guts to confront the abuser outright.  Not many can do so.  And yes, I also believe that now some deeper healing can begin for you.  You've begun to disentangle and disengage from what sounds like a lot of enmeshment.  I wish you all the best, Sadie.  You did good.  All best, LittleBoat

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Just a big mess (potential trigger)
« on: June 05, 2018, 12:30:47 PM »
Does anybody get stuck?  Unable to do anything?  Unable to keep simple tasks straight in your head?  Unable to carry out even the simplest "Activities of Daily Living" without some gnawing dread?   I struggle with Bi-Polar, in addition to C-PTSD, so maybe it's related to that.  But right now, I can't fold laundry, go through piles of old paperwork, organize my poetry (I'm a poet, full time), do banking, go food shopping, go to my writing workshops, take a shower, get dressed.  I feel like I'm just sitting in a big mess.  Each little task reminds me of a bigger, more challenging task that takes me to more challenging realizations:  Money issues, being potentially unsuccessful as a poet, needing to go on Disability and leaving a great career, not having a sense of inner strength, losing a lot of friends.  See?  It gets big really quickly, so I just sit in a big mess, unable to move.

But I think the big mess was what my parents were.  Just a big mess.  No love to give, both extremely abusive, a lot of violence and daily chaos.  I was a good student, always.  But I do remember having trouble keeping paperwork together in my room when I was about 12 or so.  I remember the floor being covered with books and papers and I was just sitting in the middle of all of it, unable to figure out what to do.  My mother stopped by my door, saw the situation, started screaming and pulling at her hair, her face all red.  She was having a fit.  She had these stupid fits, apparently about me, and they really messed with me.  To this day.  But, you know?  The mess on the floor was the mess in my head caused by the mess that was my daily home life.  The mess they caused.  The mess that they were.  This "fit" must be a flashback, because it runs like a movie in my head.  It is very very difficult to separate the mess that was my parents from the mess I perceive in myself and in my current, adult life. 

Does this register with anyone?  Thank you,

Thank you, Deep Blue.  It helps to know that one can get to the other side.  You mention running.  I don't run.  Never could.  But I am way too sedentary, especially when the battles in my psyche are so strong.  It's like I simply collapse.  And it's really hard to follow the rules of good self care:  eat right, get enough sleep (are you kidding?  That's all I do.), exercise, enjoy the's such a beautiful day.  I feel unable to do these things, and it adds another layer of guilt for my Inner Critic.  I am a poet, so yes, I write.  That might or might not help.  Depends on my mood and the subject of the poem.  Writing is an isolate act, so it can excacerbate my troubles. 

Estella, would you be willing to stay in closer touch, messaging, during this time?  Absolutely no obligation. 

Thank you both for reaching out.  This is a tough stage, for sure.

All best,

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