Starting with a new therapist who does psychoanalytic-type therapy. She is focused on tuning into the subconscious mind, because our conscious mind apparently only accounts for like 5% lived experience. We spend entire session in unstructured conversations and she questions my associations in detail.
I spent decades on behavioral-focused therapies (CBT, DBT) thinking that it's "my fault" (or fault of my genes) that i cannot regulate my moods, crying spells, negative ruminations. I've failed those sorts of therapies, always trying to "force change" my conscious thought patterns & behaviors. I'm beginning to believe that maybe I have repressed & unprocessed trauma, much of which I cannot remember. I spend a lot of time dissociated, trying to go about my day.
I've been reading about the effect of subconscious trauma, and the symptoms of it. Having large memory gaps... Chronic fatigue...Always plagued with irrational feelings that come out of nowhere... they say that in order to access the memories is to return the brain to the same state of consciousness as when the memory was encoded...but what if you were under the influence or in an unsafe situation? What if you were 4 years old? How do you even access the actual experience, if you don't remember the specific event?
I am afraid to go down this road and open a Pandora's box of feelings, random associations, and impressions that I won't be able to make sense of. Consciously, I do not think about any specific events or trauma from the past....Some doctors say that efforts to uncover potential memories stand a strong chance of creating false recollections and narratives that could harm, distress, and destabilize.
Can recovering repressed trauma actually be psychologically damaging? Memory itself is not reliable, and extremely malleable; no matter how strong and vivid memory may be, the human mind is desperately prone to fallibility.
I am going to copy this out and hand over to my new trauma therapist, will circle which applies to me. I met with her last week and she educated me with certain diagnoses I was given that now fall under the new PTSD criteria. I also am keeping a daily log of my symptoms and triggers.
CAUTION: May trigger
Full copyrighted criteria are available from the American Psychiatric Association (1). All of the criteria are required for the diagnosis of PTSD. The following text summarizes the diagnostic criteria:
Criterion A (one required): The person was exposed to: death, threatened death, actual or threatened serious injury, or actual or threatened sexual violence, in the following way(s):
Witnessing the trauma
Learning that a relative or close friend was exposed to a trauma
Indirect exposure to aversive details of the trauma, usually in the course of professional duties (e.g., first responders, medics)
Criterion B (one required): The traumatic event is persistently re-experienced, in the following way(s):
Unwanted upsetting memories
Emotional distress after exposure to traumatic reminders
Physical reactivity after exposure to traumatic reminders
Criterion C (one required): Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Trauma-related thoughts or feelings
Criterion D (two required): Negative thoughts or feelings that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Inability to recall key features of the trauma
Overly negative thoughts and assumptions about oneself or the world
Exaggerated blame of self or others for causing the trauma
Decreased interest in activities
Difficulty experiencing positive affect
Criterion E (two required): Trauma-related arousal and reactivity that began or worsened after the trauma, in the following way(s):
Irritability or aggression
Risky or destructive behavior
Heightened startle reaction
Criterion F (required): Symptoms last for more than 1 month.
Criterion G (required): Symptoms create distress or functional impairment (e.g., social, occupational).
Criterion H (required): Symptoms are not due to medication, substance use, or other illness.
Dissociative Specification. In addition to meeting criteria for diagnosis, an individual experiences high levels of either of the following in reaction to trauma-related stimuli:
Depersonalization. Experience of being an outside observer of or detached from oneself (e.g., feeling as if "this is not happening to me" or one were in a dream).
Derealization. Experience of unreality, distance, or distortion (e.g., "things are not real").
Delayed Specification. Full diagnostic criteria are not met until at least six months after the trauma(s), although onset of symptoms may occur immediately.
Note: DSM-5 introduced a preschool subtype of PTSD for children ages six years and younger.
By Angeni Mai
I'm mostly looking for advice at this moment on how to foster and encourage my significant other's (soon to be married) interests. She seems to want to share a lot of things with me, such as things about other people and all; however, when it comes to her interests, she tells me about them but doesn't include me in them. I know she tries but she also gives up if she even perceives that I'm not interested. Often times it isn't a lack of interest but rather that I may be having a bad day or an having difficulties with things and processing. (I have Cerebral Palsy and multiple mental health diagnoses)
I don't mean to make her feel like I have no interest or I don't want to get along, but is it not ok to indulge in my own thing/ have some alone time? A lot of things I do bother her sensory issues (singing opera, playing jokes, touch randomly without remembering her boundaries because my memory is shit). I want to better our relationship by sharing some in each other's interests but I also still have that need to do my own thing when it is something I know she can't handle. She's also pregnant which makes her sensory issues twice as bad, which has lead to some hard feelings, especially when I would like to sing (as I have a generally loud singing voice as I've sung opera for the past 8 years.
She also has a developmental delay that causes her to need to speak things aloud and get that feedback on social situations and some other things to process them, in which she is quite long-winded most of the time. That has also lead to more hard feelings as it leads to limited time to indulge in anything else but talking from the time we are up until the time she goes to bed. Any other time that's left during the day, she usually insists that we spend it together because she wants to be close but she has also said that if we don't have that closeness each and every day, multiple times a day even (most days) then she and I will be too distant and she won't be able to open back up to me because I'll be a stranger (she has had issues with selective mutism when she was a child is the only thing I could assume she means by she will stop opening up). It may just be a matter of her mental health and I just misunderstood what she meant, however, is it wrong of me to feel like she is somewhat playing mind games/ manipulating me/ twisting my arm for me to pay all of my attention to her?
She is currently visiting from Canada and I live 422 miles away from her home. She has said that things will be different when we go back to Canada in 5 days, but I don't know whether or not I can trust this as I have seen different happen when she's back home and we just talk over video call. She says she doesn't really lie, and I know that, but is it bad of me to feel like she just doesn't really know herself all that well in what she really and needs from a person, especially when she's never really been in a long term relationship before us getting together? I'm really trying to let go of the past but this is just a lot to handle.
Does anybody have any advice on how to cope with these situations? Is it too much for me to continue to wish for and sometimes expect her to understand my needs? Is it too much for me to want to be left alone sometimes (as it helps me to cope with life and process my own emotions)?
I really don't want her or our relationship to suffer because I'm not giving her what she needs.
Thanks for any responses. They are much appreciated.
P.S. ~ Are there any books you would recommend somebody in a relationship with somebody who has ASD reads to have a better understanding of what it is like to have autism or books on how to cope with the differences in their partner?
P.P.S. ~ I know she's not a manipulative person and she wouldn't mindfully force me to do what I don't wish to, it's just I feel backed into a corner most days and I lash out emotionally in anger and start to yell when she's annoying me, most often times at the expense of being called mean when I say something she doesn't view as true and, at the best of times, neither do I. I guess it's just hard when both parties have mental health issues that result in a lot of emotions (and a TON of anger) and developmental issues, and social skills deficits on her end. I love her to death though and just want to make things easier on the both of us, more so on her though.
Finally came clean with my psych. I am sitting here with boxes of the same item (3) of this and that, that I ordered online and don't even remember I ordered these items. I increased my credit line on my credit cards so I could spend more. I find when I am up late at night I order, order, order and don't remember the next day what I ordered until I get an email that an item is coming. I can't leave my home due to panic and high anxiety. I have to stop spending or I am heading for bankruptcy.
My psych doc just started me on Seroquel (1/2 of a 25 mg - very low dose due to sensitivities to medication) at night and Abilify during the day. I had taken myself off all my meds and don't know why. I have been having confusion, dissociation, fear of leaving my apartment, insomnia, fear of my mind falling apart. So, with the encouragement of a friend, I came clean and told my psych doc everything that was going on. I feel embarrassed, but I do need help and apparently I can't manage all this alone. He did not judge me, he knew something was amiss due to all the vmails I leave on his answering machine.
Thinking back, I have gone thru several traumatic events and this could have probably kicked all this off. I am not in therapy just yet, but I need to be. So, thought I would start here for help navigating all this.
Here is the list of the traumas I have gone thru over the past 12 months: witnessed and stopped a brutal assault and went to criminal court as a witness, witnessed the sudden death of a close friend, then right after that went thru a forced move to an apartment I do not like, then had a liver biopsy, have been thru numerous doctors trying to find out what my medical condition is, now I have an impacted kidney stone and facing more surgery, tore my meniscus in my knee but can't get to the ortho for treatment, lost 40 pounds due to not eating and having nausea with all the pain I have had.
I only sleep 3-4 hours a night, so hoping the Seroquel will help me get my sleep hygiene back in tact. Hoping the Abilify will help with mood stabilization and anxiety/panic control. Those are my medication goals right now.
Thank you for listening.