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Friday, April 29, 2011

Magma of Sadness, Boundary Sine Waves and What's the Big Deal with Crying

I'm just easing out of a large crying jag - spillover desperation and frustration with puppy and triggers abound. I feel so very little sometimes, I think maybe the age i was when I first felt fear and violation. Because I feel so helpless and vulnerable, and my adult self feels so angry at all of this, things that hurt me, things that hurt others, it seems like I just feel it all indiscriminately - must be the wide open/clamped shut boundary sine wave  going on. It's why I stay home and cave it, as a comrade blogger so aptly puts it.

I spent many many years not crying, making myself not cry- no doubt a legacy of the "Don't cry or I'll give you something to cry about" mantra. Thus ensued this stoicism that I carried for years, a shallow toughness, industrial strength on the outside but a magma of sadness (new James Bond movie title) seething (sorry, counter intuitive) beneath. People have told me over and over again how strong I am/appear, I have been placed in leadership roles by volunteer or upsurge. How did they not see the fear? People are mostly feeling their own feelings and too busy worrying about themselves. My stoicism soon deteriorated into numbness. Now, today, all of those obstructed feelings want acknowledgment, and they do not share and do not cooperate. They prefer to exist as a horde.

Sometime I wonder if all these attempts to create community (of 2 or 9 billion) are fruitless, maybe why so many of us feel buttressed with yearning -  a fragile state. Maybe we are just all alone and attempts to share our lives with others are doomed. I feel so alone, so often, I hope others don't feel this way, it's crippling.

OK, I've stopped crying now. Maybe I'll watch some royal wedding, I just care about the outfits.

Friday, April 22, 2011

A Classic Case of PTSD - aka Me.

If anyone doubts the physical impact of emotionally based issues, think about how exhausting a stressful day at work can be, or when traveling, ever been puzzled by how tired you feel when you've been sitting down for a couple hours? It's stress and stress is physically draining. Stress is caused by any change, we need stress in our  lives otherwise we would all be dead - imagine not ducking if a ball gets thrown our way (or, being Canadian, a puck)? If our reptilian brains didn't prompt us to move we wouldn't last long. Or  a car goes through a red light, we (hopefully) stomp on our brakes. The speed at which our brain transmits and receives such warning signals is quite striking (heehee), if it wasn't fast, well we wouldn't be having this (one-sided) conversation. These messages are our stress responses. These are good things to have. It is good that when we are cut that our brains tell our blood to slow down and clot a little, otherwise we would all bleed to death. It is good that our brain feeds our blood oxygen and dumps more energy into our muscles so we can slam on those brakes (or run away from the mean bear), it's good that we get extra adrenalin and cortisol dumped into our systems too, we get stronger and faster. It is good that our pupils dilate when there's trouble so they let in more light, so we can see what the problem is. These are all good things. The problem is that when the trouble (the loss, the scare) is really big our most fundamental brain functions just take over (you girls stay here) and keep control. Instead of responding to the trouble then as the trouble decreases we relax (you know- the crash after the high) we stay in response mode, it's as if the trouble never goes away so we have to keep in response mode. It's like our brains freeze in place, we stay on alert: always wary of, always expecting, always feeling a threat. Always in trouble, always in danger, always afraid. That's me.

Small wonder that when the big hurts happen, we can feel even more wasted. Imagine then if the hurts don't stop, ever, the brain stays on alert. Pretty exhausting and that is how I feel right now. I saw the psychiatrist again yesterday and I am still reacting to the stress of it. It's not  like I was ever in any true danger, but my brain is now hardwired to feel like I am. perpetually. in danger. I get depleted very easily, I don't have any reserves, no back up generator. This is PTSD.  And the brain Dr.  said yesterday I have it and that I represent a classic case.  I was shocked actually, that he stated this with such certainty. such casual conviction. sadness and validation. Sorrow and regret (from the muppet frog prince).

He wants me to find and include more restorative things/actions in to daily life. He thought me watching Family Guy again was a good idea (I laugh very hard). Wants me to cut out the naps since while naps help me rest (mystery that), they don't really replenish. I need replenishment. Wants me to include more people in my life. wants me to - gasp - socialize. Suggests that I volunteer in some sort of artful fashion. Work with kids. I love kids and I love doing art and encouraging imaginative play with children, I just don't trust myself to make (and keep) the commitment. I doubt my ability to be reliable. I guess I can just try, and keep an eye (just the one) on myself so I can tell when I have had enough. You know, listen to my mind and body, recognize the warning signs, respect my boundaries. Tricky stuff this, makes me even more self-centered. Actually, I've always been "other" centered.

It feels good to write, it was the only thing that felt right to do right now, the only thing I felt I could do. So hurray for everything.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Being Seen and Being Heard

Been a long while. I self-censor. Sometimes the shame dictates my actions, tell me to stop wallowing, stop writing, you have nothing new to write, nothing to offer, such harsh judgments. I know, or believe, that I judge myself so nastily as a way to ward off others' potential mean judgments, what I expect from others anyhow. It makes sense to me, a sort of survival mechanism if I am the one who can hurt me most, ipso facto,no one can hurt me, I become impervious to their meanness, except that I don't. Just another in the long line of self-delusion.

I met with the psychiatrist last week, I was terrified, my anxiety just kept building to the extent that by the time I was just walking into the building where his office is, I was shaking then tears ensued. I sat in his office, then just cried. He asked what the tears were about, I wasn't really sure, expect that I was afraid of what would happen, afraid he would decry me as False, faker, fraud. He knows people I know as well as I do, so in part there was a nice (surprising) sense of camaraderie that i have not felt in a very long time. Someone who knew what we were all up against, someone who knew the culture, the language (although Mr Mcluhan said they were one and the same), the acronyms, someone who could read between the lines of my stories. It's good to feel understood, even though there exists a concomitant discomfort with someone understanding so well, seeing me so clearly. Won't be able to hide much from this one.

I cannot fathom that there exist people who wake up in the morning feeling good, who want to get out of bed, people who feel happy, it' beyond my scope - I just don't believe it. I think it's part of my  belief that there is nothing wrong with me - except that there is something wrong with me.

well the Doc asked me to come back because after 2 hrs straight talking, he still hadn't finished his VAC assessment. He said he had about 20 more questions to ask, I said why not email them to me, he looked at me and said "No, I want you to come back." I replied that there were other people who needed his time more than me, people who needed (aka deserved) his help more. He said "You deserve to come back, I wouldn't ask if you didn't".  It's difficult to believe, I just don't understand what has happened to me, and yet I do in an academic from a distance/dissociative sense. So tomorrow I'm off to Vancouver once again. It feels very luxurious, event decadent, to have someone listen and really get it. But you see, he was in Rwanda, he disclosed his humanity to me, and it released many inhibitions. It is good to be seen, very vulnerable position though it might be, it is good.

Take care everyone.