Jazzy's Journal - Round 3

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2021, 11:28:39 PM »
I haven't really thought this through yet, but it is on my list of outstanding things to address.

From what I've been told, most of modern therapy is based on the idea of neuroplasticity - basically, you keep thinking/feeling something, and it becomes more natural and easier to do. So, a lot of (mental) bad habits and things can be changed through forced repetition. I certainly had a LOT of bad habits, and still have a lot I'm working on.

However, with trauma related injuries, people have a tendency to enter an emotional flashback, and relive the hurt. I've experienced this time and again with myself, even to the point of experiencing the exact opposite emotion of what is "normal". I've also seen others post about this too. So, at first glance, this approach will not work out very well. In extreme cases, I expect it even to do further damage.

So, maybe we need to get rid of the neoroplasticity approach, or at least combine it with something else for trauma therapy. Now, I just have to figure out exactly what "something else" is. Any ideas? :)

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Hope67

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #16 on: March 24, 2021, 08:28:48 AM »
Hi Jazzy,
Both your last entries you wrote in your journal are thought-provoking for me, and I wanted to say things in response, but haven't felt able to put my words together properly.  Now I've started this message to you, and find I can't formulate what I want to say. 

Anyway, I'll send you a hug, if that's ok  :hug:
Hope  :)

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2021, 09:53:14 PM »
Thank you Hope!  It is nice to hear from you again. I appreciate your hug!  :hug: It is very nice, thank you.  You don't need to say anything in response to my entries if it isn't good for you, or if you're struggling with it. If you do find the words you want to share, that would be great too.

--

I had an appointment with my psychiatrist again. I was struggling with it, because it is so difficult for me to speak, as I've talked about in the last few posts. I wanted to tell him about my friend, but that's a hard thing to talk about. I also wanted to tell him that I haven't been taking my anti-depressants for a while now. I've wanted to tell him since last summer, but I've been afraid.

Despite the difficulty, I did push myself to tell him what I wanted, and it went really well. Usually he just asks me a few basic questions, which I give him vague answers too, and that's about it for the visit. However, this time, we actually had a conversation. I told him what had been going on with me, and he responded well, which made it easier for me to keep sharing more. Despite the problems with our medical system, and that I've been annoyed by him in the past, I saw that he really does try to help as best he can.

I'm not really sure how to describe it well, but it was so nice to actually participate in a conversation instead of just feeling guarded and trying to get out of there.  :thumbup:

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2021, 11:04:09 PM »
Lately, I've been over-focusing on things (manic? also haven't been sleeping much), and it's made it difficult to sit down and spend time here. It's also interfered with me connecting with people / feeling a lot of empathy. I really need to keep an eye on it, but I am working towards balancing myself out more.

I spoke with my grandmother on the phone today. Although it went better than normal, it was still difficult. She mentioned some things she read on the internet, and how she isn't going to get the vaccine. I almost pointed out that her thinking/rationale wasn't consistent from one minute to the next, but I realize that she has a lifetime of such twisted thinking. I don't expect her to change any time soon (likely ever), and it's not an argument I want to have right now, so I just let it go. It was okay though, because it was my choice, not that I feel like I couldn't speak.


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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2021, 11:19:03 PM »
So, I just had a huge realization a minute after I wrote that last post.

I was never taught that when something goes wrong, you should examine yourself and your actions, then compare them with the results, and try to figure out what to change. There was plenty that I did (supposedly) wrong when I was a kid. There was no reflection and growth though. There was only "you're wrong, I (parent) am right because I'm the authority (and they often threw in a god claim to make that authority sound stronger). Then, if anyone disagreed, they would just claim (sometimes religious) persecution.

Wow, no wonder I had such a hard time in the past even understanding that I had such a skewed understanding of so many things in life. What a mess my childhood was. Imagine if I had been taught how to resolve relationship/social problems instead of just playing the victim. I feel really cheated out of a chance at a good life. At least it's not all over yet, and I can still improve for what time I have left.

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2021, 09:51:41 PM »
One thing my grandmother was right about when I spoke with her yesterday is that I need to get more fresh air and exercise instead of hiding in my apartment constantly. So, this morning I went for a walk. Now that I'm sleeping better, I'm waking up earlier, so I can go out before there are too many people out and the city becomes busy. It was nice this morning, there wasn't much noise, so I could hear the birds, and I only came across a couple of people.

I expect it was because of the walk that I've had much more energy today than I normally do. I did a ton of extra housework. ... by a ton, I mean I did 3 extra projects around the house. 3 may not seem like a lot, but most of my life I've struggled (mostly failing) just to do basic hygiene and health care activities, so 3 extra things on the same day is huge for me.

I'm still wary about being in a manic phase. I'd like to get another hour or so of sleep. I am a bit tired throughout the day, but it's just tired, which is better than the fatigue/lethargy/exhaustion that I'm used to feeling. Besides being tired, I don't see any negatives, so I'll just continue to monitor the situation. Hopefully my sleeping smooths out even more if I can keep up with the increased exercise.

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Hope67

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2021, 07:43:02 AM »
Hi Jazzy,
Your walk sounds like it was enjoyable.  Lovely to enjoy the quiet and the sound of the birds in the early morning. 
Hope  :)

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2021, 12:00:04 PM »
Hi Hope!  :wave: You're absolutely right! Hearing the birds is very peaceful, and helps me feel connected to nature. It's a great experience. I'm glad you enjoy it too! :)

I've been so busy lately, I haven't stopped to write here in a while. I still have a lot to do, but its important for me to write about a couple of things I've realized last week. Its helpful for me to write these things out, and hopefully it will be helpful for someone else too.

The first thing I realized is about "the viscous cycle". Even though it's the last thing I ever wanted to do, I realize that I have hurt, and even traumatized my ex-wife with the way I acted in the past. That's very difficult for me, because I have had such a bad experience with trauma myself, and I always said I would never damage anyone else like that, but I completely failed. I'm very disappointed in myself, among a lot of other feelings.

At some point in her last email to me, she apologized for something she did, which she could have handled better. She said she instinctively reacted that way, because that's how her parents reacted when she was a child. When I read that, I realized it was a very good point. I too had acted in the way which my parents had treated me when I was a child. This explains a lot of my behaviour, and why I hurt her when it was so important for me not too. So, if both her and I, when we were in a poor mental state, "defaulted" to the behaviour we were exposed to as children, I'm sure many other people do too, which explains how "the cycle" works, and why it continues to happen. I believe that cycle can be broken by a person healing from their own damage, then growing and learning healthier ways to live their lives. With these two things, and a lot of self control and mindfulness, they can ensure they stay in a positive mental state, and not "default" back to the behaviour of their cycle.

The other realization I had was about connecting with other people. I was so damaged by my childhood, that for many years I was totally incapable of connecting with anyone properly. Besides the massive problem of trauma, I also never learned about, and didn't have any examples of proper and healthy connections or relationships. I've improved a lot over the last couple of years with the affects of trauma, but still totally failed at connecting with people. I realized that was because I completely avoided talking about feelings and emotions. The only place I ever did that was here on this forum, where I could type, and not speak. Even then, it hasn't been in the best way.

I've really been working on embracing the topic of emotions. I'm trying to handle them in a better way, and not just completely avoid the topic all the time. Emotions are an important part of a healthy mind. Some people don't do well with the subject, I imagine because they have their own problems. That is difficult to deal with. But, some people do handle it well, and appreciate it. It feels really great to be able to talk about emotions and feelings, especially when I get positive reinforcement in return. It's made such a tremendous difference. It's very powerful and inspired, which makes me feel respected and valued. I realize that I have never been able to properly connect with anyone, because I only ever showed them (and really used), the logical part of my mind. I was missing an entire dimension in all of my relationships.

It's still challenging to open up and express myself in this way, but it is getting a bit easier with practice, and especially with the positive reinforcement I mentioned earlier. I'm sure it will continue to get better. For now, I use this feeling wheel that Notalone gave me. It has been so helpful. I'm extremely (looks at feeling wheel) thankful for that, and feel much more confident having this tool to help me. Thank you Notalone! :)

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notalone

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #23 on: April 07, 2021, 01:41:19 PM »
You're welcome. I'm glad it is helpful.

Even though it's the last thing I ever wanted to do, I realize that I have hurt, and even traumatized my ex-wife with the way I acted in the past.

Jazzy, aside from my abusers, I've had people who have hurt me deeply, but put all the responsibility on me. I don't know how much you want to say to your ex-wife, but to own your part, could be very healing for you and for her, if you decide to talk about that with her.

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Alter-eg0

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #24 on: April 07, 2021, 01:56:58 PM »
Sounds like some valuable new insights there, Jazzy.

As for emotions, I remember one of my trainers once saying to me: trying to live without emotions, is like trying to drive a car with a bucket over your head. You miss a whole lot of valuable information, and that can be dangerous. I like the notion of seeing emotions not as positive or negative, but as information. That makes them easier to explore, and in time, that will bring a lot more nuance. Communication about them with yourself if the first part, and then communicating them with others. Not always easy, but you know the drill, baby steps.

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2021, 11:53:26 PM »
Thank you for sharing that Notalone, though I'm sorry to hear that you have been hurt and treated by others like that, on top of your abusers. It sounds very discouraging! I think you know now that all the responsibility does not belong to you, even though they tried to put it on you, which is good.

Yeah, it's a difficult situation. I have a lot of regret for some of the things I've done, and how things have gone. It is also somewhat confusing, because I would never behave that way in my right mind. It was me, but it seems like it also wasn't in a way. I was basically surviving on auto-pilot, and barely at that. Unfortunately, that auto-pilot was a horrible thing from how I was raised as a child, which caused a lot of hurt, like was caused to me. I understand that logically, but it's challenging for me to fully grasp the reality of all of that.

I have been talking a lot with her, owning my part as you put it, and while it is difficult, it has been very good for me. I hope it has been helpful for her too. If nothing else, it has been great to actually speak to her in a real way for once. That felt like such a relief, and a big accomplishment.

While I was cleaning out my storage closet, I found an old memory box from our marriage... and it was completely empty. That's really sad, and disappointing, and  a lot of other feelings that are more difficult to name, but I think it was a good representation of the connection and communication between us (it didn't exist).

--

Thanks to you as well Alter-eg0! That is a good analogy, and I completely agree about emotions being information, and not positive or negative in their own right. I think we tend to assign judgments like positive and negative, because it makes it easier for us to understand intellectually. Emotions can lead to actions, and those can certainly be good or bad, but feelings are just there. It's up to us to understand and process them in a healthy way, maybe with some adjustments if they are too overwhelming.

You're absolutely right about it not being easy, and taking baby steps. I've made some mistakes, but I'm learning from them. Overall things have been going well, and I've seen some great results. I'm very happy and feel quite accomplished with what I've done so far. I'm also excited for the future, after I have further refined this method of communication. :)

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2021, 11:35:43 PM »
I've "levelled out" quite a bit, like I was hoping to do. I'm sleeping closer to 8 hours a night now, instead of 5. Thankfully, I'm hurting a lot less. I still have a notable amount of general pain, but it's not as bad as it has been.

I'm still doing quite well. I'm sleeping soundly, and waking up by 6:30 am at the latest. Then I'm out for a walk, and make a good breakfast when I get back home. I'm eating more now than I used to, but I'm also more active now, and I'm eating healthier as well. I've cut out a lot of carbs that was in my diet previously. It feels really positive to care for myself better in that way, and I'm losing some fat as well, which is a great accomplishment.

I'm still not confident this improvement will last, although I am hopefully that it will. I have certainly come to terms with a lot of things from my past, and learned healthier ways to manage my emotions, as well as my thoughts and actions. I've also processed a lot of things from my past, so with all of those things, it is possible that this change may last.

I'm really hesitant to say "I'm cured", or even "healed", but I'm doing inexplicably better than I ever have before. I know I've said this before, but I'm so thankful to everyone on these forums who has been with me (even just virtually) through the past few years.

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Jazzy

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2021, 12:19:51 AM »
Things are still going well for me, though stressful situations are still more difficult to handle than they should be. With that said, I don't think my life is very stressful compared to a lot of other people. I'm still somewhat concerned about how well I will do when things get more difficult.

TW: Trauma and lack of care

I've really been bothered about this survey that Kizzie posted, and how it seems to really miss the mark. It brings back a lot of bad memories about when I tried to get therapy for myself. A lot of options weren't available to me, because I couldn't pay for them. The ones that were available to me were either more damaging, or not willing to work with me.

What is upsetting me most is how the public health system failed me so badly. My psychiatrist suggested therapy numerous times, and kept giving me referrals to the hospital for group therapy. While it isn't ideal, it is what was available for me. I really tried to go to those therapy sessions and make it work, but I just couldn't do it, and they always ended the same way.

"This voice message is to let you know that you have been discharged from the therapy program for missing 3 sessions."

That's some pretty politically correct language, which can be used for good, but in this case, I think it is only hiding the true meaning of the message, so those giving it don't feel so guilty. What I got out of the message was this:
"Don't bother coming back. You're too difficult to work with, so we're not going to try helping you any more."

Now, hopefully people realize that's a really bad thing to say to anyone, never mind someone dealing with trauma. It's a complete failure of a health system to just discard someone like that. Like so many others, they don't understand what it is really like to deal with trauma. I wasn't some well adjusted individual that didn't prioritize recovery. I actually couldn't do it their way; I needed more help. As I'm sure everyone here knows, trauma interferes with the deepest parts of our minds in an extreme way, but we have to keep using our mind as best we can, no matter what state it is in.

Here are a couple of similar messages, but using physical problems, because that seems easier for people to understand:

"... you have been discharged from the surgery wait list for your kidney transplant, because you did not respond to our message in time."
"... you must have your broken leg re-set elsewhere, because you did not walk in to the office before the doctor."

 :pissed: Seriously, how the * is this acceptable at all?!

I keep telling myself "they don't understand, they don't know", and I really hope it is true. But how do we make them understand, when they can't even ask the right questions? Why do we have to figure everything out and explain it to them, when our minds are barely working, and not at all working correctly, while theirs are perfectly fine?!

Those aren't hypothetical questions, I'd really like to hear any ideas or suggestions.

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Hope67

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2021, 02:09:29 PM »
trauma interferes with the deepest parts of our minds in an extreme way, but we have to keep using our mind as best we can, no matter what state it is in.


I really relate to this.  I think you put that really well. 

I am so sorry that you've been let down by the public health system. 

You've asked for some ideas and suggestions - I feel like I can't get my brain together to think of anything to say, but I am hoping that people who are researching things might figure something out. 

 :hug: to you Jazzy

Hope  :)

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Armadillo

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Re: Jazzy's Journal - Round 3
« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2021, 02:20:10 PM »
(((Jazzy))))

Our mental health system all over is just not ok. And it is just such a bad feeling when people or systems don't protect or heal us . It feels like a betrayal. I don't know about you, but I feel more upset by the good-ish people who failed to help me than by the abuse and neglect from the "bad" people.

Here's what I might suggest to the researchers....they need to have an advisory group of real people with diverse CPTSD experiences to guide the research questions, recruitment, surveys, interactions with participants, and disseminating the results. In my field we call that "community based participatory research" but maybe there's a different term in mental health.