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I'm feeling paranoid and on the verge of panic attack. I had to take a propranolol mid afternoon at work. I'm feeling on edge and my child state is close to the surface. I don't want her to 'take over', I'm trying to 'stay here'. I'm scared and angry and a whole bundle of feelings that I haven't taken time to identify. So if anyone can help I'd be grateful.

I had a dream last night where I was in my parents' kitchen (the scene of much emotional trauma when I was 'growing up.') and my father flushed the loo upstairs (bear in mind that the toilet in my parents' house hasn't worked in quite a few years, they fill buckets of water to flush, my parents don't want to have a plumber in....long story.) and first all the guttering off the roof thumped down in a big square down onto the back lawn, and then the whole back of the house (a very neglected 1930's 2 bedroom semi in suburbia)started to collapse and subside, sink down, I was scared of the house collapsing down around us. I was thinking what could I gather up before I ran out, escaped. But then my alarm clock went and it was 6.30 time to get up.

I know I need to look into and explore safely some of my childhood originating feelings....and I am holding on until therapy on Monday....in the meantime I could use some support and help, questions, pointers, anything that might help me open up this dream and my feelings.

I also dreamt about trying to hide and get rid of a bat..... ;)

I feel 'crazy' and don't want to stay this way.....I want to safely come through this semi-dissociation....

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I'm feeling paranoid and on the verge of panic attack. I had to take a propranolol mid afternoon at work. I'm feeling on edge and my child state is close to the surface. I don't want her to 'take over', I'm trying to 'stay here'. I'm scared and angry and a whole bundle of feelings that I haven't taken time to identify. So if anyone can help I'd be grateful.

Dearest Nestling,

You have been working soooo hard on your stuff. Number one? Have you taken any kind of recreational or pampering break? FUN, in other words, or RELAXING...if not, please do, because you are depleting your resources (inner) working through this heavy crap, and you can be caught in a world of hurt when you come up empty. I know you dance, maybe do some dancing, if it's fun and relaxing and NOT work.

Some strategies for pulling yourself back to NOW. These worked for me, FWIW.

1. Make a list to put on your wall include in it things like,

My name is S9. I am a 45 year old ADULT woman. I am responsible for taking care of myself and my two children independently.

My favorite color is purple.

It is February 11, 2006, the 2006 Winter Olympics are in progress in Italy.

I am doing very hard work on childhood trauma issues, and I, S9, the ADULT woman, am aware that as part of this process I might become very afraid, have flashbacks and *feel* like that child little S9. She is a part of me that I take care of, she is not responsible for me. I am responsible for her, I am the ADULT.

I am an EMPOWERED woman.

I am fully capable of identifying a flashback or other strong memory of my childhood trauma, and bringing myself back to THIS MOMENT. NOW.

I'm freestyling, whatever are your empowering affirmations if you want to call them that, write them down. That exercise alone will ease some anxiety (hopefully), but then you also have something in writing to ground you if you feel like you are about to seriously wig out (which I don't think will happen to you. Not that it makes it less scary for YOU.)

The other thing I did a lot, and still do, is talk to myself in the mirror. Mirrors have been and still are a very important part of my incest recovery. Because I had so much self-loathing waaaaaaaaaaay back when, I could hardly look myself in the mirror. And I don't mean the cursory glance, I'm talking pull up a chair.

I found that when I first confronted myself this way, my countenance was very stern, flat, defensive. When I do this exercise, I only focus on my eyes. I keep looking into my own eyes until I feel love similar to that of when I look into the eyes of my children. I think you said you work with children, so maybe you can relate to how you feel when you look into their little eyes--so open, innocent. When I get to that place of love, where the critical voice has been silent, I will give myself a talking too. For example, I will look at myself as I would one of my children and review the list above I have just written.

Finally, sorry this is so long, when I have really been stuck in child mode, and this is going to sound crazy, but, well, if the shoe fits, right? I imagine I am in the ocean, floundering, I'm the child. On the bank is me the adult, with a really strong rod and reel and I just reel myself in.

I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve! I remember the early days of triggers, flashbacks, intense memories, overwhelming bouts of grief, terror, rage. I got through them all. It took me five years until I felt like I was starting to get somewhere. Of course, in retrospect, I can see I was moving all along.

Oddly, this October will be five years since Bradley died, and this year is becoming pivotal in my recovery from that trauma as well.

There is no timeframe for one or any of us. Other than that with the passage of time, things become less frightening. But I can still find myself in a wicked episode of PTSD, comes around the corner, kicks my ass without me ever seeing it coming.

But that's why we do what you're doing now, gathering tools and strategies to deal and move through it.

Okay, I'm going to stop now, for the sake of the board, if you need additional support over the weekend, PM me and I'll get back to you right away. We are supposed to be getting snowed in. I have to go out and get my ration of Mountain Dew (don't tell Olga...lol...she's my de facto nutritionist right now)...but I'll be around all weekend, and I have a CB addiction, so I'll hear you if you holler!

Love, light and a great big hug,

S9

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thanks S9.

*sighs*

I'm still feeling shaky. I am touched by your words...will try some of the things you suggest when I get home (am in internet cafe right now)

Looking in a mirror is bound to bring up lots of tears, which would probably be good....

Rest? hm.....um, no, not really. I feel too 'wired' to rest properly, not in a 'manic' way, but in an anxious, hypervigilant way.

I'll lie down for a bit when I get in, have dinner and then do something creative.

Its strange, because I also have lots of coping strategies, but I can't seem to feel like I can reach them.....

I AM scared of 'wigging out' as you put it! I call it 'flipping out' but its the same thing....strung out and scared of snapping, right?

thanks again.....I'll do my best to get back to this later, (flatmate not using the phone permitting) but I MUST also have an early night tonight.....haven't been getting to bed til about midnight the past week...and then feeling like shit in the mornings....especially this morning after that nightmare.....

snow? wow! its just cold here....cold and damp, typical London-in-February.

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hiya nestling,

S9 has some great support for you up there. and howzabout the whole med tapering thing? Everything ok on that front?

It's already Sunday here in Japan...just one more day...keep posting, ok?

lily

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thanks again.....I'll do my best to get back to this later, (flatmate not using the phone permitting) but I MUST also have an early night tonight

Take care of YOU, we'll be here. Yeah, wigging out is flipping out. I think it is a bastardization (is that a word? correct usage?) of "to flip one's wig." Which, the mere thought of that usually makes me smile.

Losing total control is probably THE biggest fear where you're at, if I'm even close in trying to assess that place for you. I know I went through it, mine was with anger. I thought, "I can't *get in touch with my anger*, because once I start I will go off into complete madness and never return. It's scary stuff. But I did, and I did go off to some pretty far off and scary places, but they had limits, and I found them. Very empowering that too.

You are doing wonderfully well in dealing with this crap. Seriously. I am in awe of your courage, your ability to articulate your process, to see self. Get some rest. Talk to tdoc about strategies for pulling yourself back if you do flip out, or I should say *when*, because successful healing requires many freak outs. It's part of healing, knowing you can freak out and get through it. Ya know? You can let go, there is a place where you end and others begin--it's a boundary thing.  Knowing that place is a tool.

Again, I don't feel like I have to post a disclaimer with each post on the PTSD board, but what I say to you and anyone here I base on my own experience and the experience of others I have journeyed with. I'm not suggesting or telling you what to do, but as a recovered childhood trauma subject, I have learned a lot. I purposely never use the word victim anymore when talking about this stuff, that is MY THING.

I don't like survivor either, I'm LIVING, not SURVIVING. Well, today I am.

Okay, I'm going to leave you alone now. I also would never want to overwhelm you, but I'm excited by your journey and think of me as a cheerleader!

Love,

S9

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nestling,

sounds like having a create outlett works for you, keep it up.

One way to escape temporarily is to get absorbed in a movie. I don't know what kind of access you have to movies (VCR, DVD, TV), but if you can sit still long enough to watch a movie and forget about everything else it can help. Be careful to choose a movie that will not have any triggers for you, or choose an old time favorite movie if you can. Getting lost in a movie, so to speak, can be a way of semi-dissociating, but can be a safe one.

On dreams, I am a firm believer that no one can interpret a dream other than the person who had the dream. Having said that, a house can often represent one's self. Without applying my own interpretation, I can if asked but would never do so otherwise. You can make a list of images and then right down the ideas, concepts, feelings, thoughts that an image has for you. One thing I try to remember is even though a dream may seem forbodding, it can also offer an idea of how you are feeling or dealing with something in your life, and it need not be negative, the interpretation that is. If it doesn't seem overwhelming to you right now, you could try exploring your dream.

Being scared of flipping out is as bad as, if not worse, than actually flipping out. Then the whole cycle begins being scared you are going to flip out, the fear grows and grows, anxiety increases, and so on and so on.

Sounds like you need some sleep too. I hope you rest better tonight. Let us know how you are doing, if you can, when you get home.

Erika

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nestling- i fell like i'm bound to find you wherever i go on the boards- which is such a nice thing. i'm so sorry you are having such a bad time.

I believe the dream was all about the chaos in the house- the dangers ( the bat) and finding a way to escape) you have escaped and you are safe even though it may not feel like it! that little girl grew up to have a flat a job etc pat yourself on the back!

s9 mentioned you dance- i often find if i feel dissociated and horrible- that getting back to my body really helps. stretching and dancing ( even putting on my favorite leotard and shoes etc- it helps bring me to a place of confidence and empowerment- dance for me anyway brings positive body memories.

i also like to put on music and sing along- someone once told me that was incompatable with anxiety- i don't think thats really true but it can help.

i hope you are feeling better- do something nice for you0 and something to comfort that little child)

mrsloony

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I liked S9's ideas for grounding one's self in the here and now.  Breeze suggested I meditate when I'm having anxiety attacks, and I've been working on just meditating on this moment.  Like, at this moment, I am in my house.  I feel safe.  I am breathing.  At this moment, I am not responsible for anything.  I am not being irresponsible.  At this moment, I am content.  And I am going to make a list like S9 suggested, too.

I had a very intense, often scarey childhood, too.  When specific moments keep coming back to haunt me, I've developed a coping strategy that's kind of a combination of buddhist and some native american teachings on soul retrieval.  It's easiest when I'm feel pretty safe and relaxed, like lying in bed when it's quiet.  I let the memory play out.  Then I imagine the adult me I am stepping into the memory and hugging the little kid me and saying, "It's ok.  It's over.  I love you.  You survived and I won't let that happen to you again.  You will grow up to be a strong woman.  I promise."  I say all the things my child-self needed to hear.  I become her "mother" that she didn't have.  I take comfort knowing that I can rely on myself.  It has helped me.  Maybe it can help you, too.

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I liked S9's ideas for grounding one's self in the here and now.  Breeze suggested I meditate when I'm having anxiety attacks, and I've been working on just meditating on this moment.  Like, at this moment, I am in my house.  I feel safe.  I am breathing.  At this moment, I am not responsible for anything.  I am not being irresponsible.  At this moment, I am content.  And I am going to make a list like S9 suggested, too.

I had a very intense, often scarey childhood, too.  When specific moments keep coming back to haunt me, I've developed a coping strategy that's kind of a combination of buddhist and some native american teachings on soul retrieval.  It's easiest when I'm feel pretty safe and relaxed, like lying in bed when it's quiet.  I let the memory play out.  Then I imagine the adult me I am stepping into the memory and hugging the little kid me and saying, "It's ok.  It's over.  I love you.  You survived and I won't let that happen to you again.  You will grow up to be a strong woman.  I promise."  I say all the things my child-self needed to hear.  I become her "mother" that she didn't have.  I take comfort knowing that I can rely on myself.  It has helped me.  Maybe it can help you, too.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, and material objects can help bring one *back* to this moment, for example, when I'm having an intense flashback, if I have something symbolic and tangible to touch and really FEEL it centers me back to NOW.

This doesn't happen as much anymore...actually hardly at all. So there is good news. In fact, I had some flashbacks while I was staying with my folks (long story), but Erika helped me get through them, with tdoc, and they were heavy-duty, but NOTHING, and I mean nothing like the first few years of recovery. I'm almost 20 years down the track. As I said in my earlier post, I reject the terms victim and survivor, and I wanted to say just a word (yea right) more about that, after thinking about it.

I went through phases of my recovery from my assaultive, neglectful, squalorous childhood that required I identify with victim, it was part of understanding that I was not the cause because as we know as children we internalize the blame for all the shit. So I want to back up and say, I no longer identify with victim...from victim I moved to survivor, and that was just as important to identify with--surviving something horrendous. I guess what I wrote earlier was the short version, because after survivor, for me, came woman, warrior, self, S9. Period. It's all a matter of words, but to me they are important. I don't say to anyone, "I'm an incest survivor." And I mean no disrespect to anyone--however long or short their recovery--who identifies themself as such. What I say is, "I have recovered from child sexual abuse."

But for a long time, it was important for me to identify myself to the world or anyone who would listen as an incest survivor. In the very beginning, incest victim.

Again, it's all words, but they're powerful and I don't want to be misunderstood or seem judgmental or any of that crap of all places on this board. To me this is a safe place, and I wouldn't want to fuck that up talking to someone just starting their journey when I've been doing this for almost 2 decades. And still feel like a beginner.

Anyhoo, enough outta me, I'm sure I overstated my point, per usual!

S9

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thanks everyone...I am really warmed and touched by your words....I feel their comfort and safety surround me....and I really appreciate it. ;)

yes, I am home now. wanted to be on earlier but I'm here now.

I want to reply in more detail....but I've had the remeron 20 minutes ago and my brain is starting to sag and sleeeeep is calling me....

I'll allow all your kind thoughts and comments and ideas to sit with me over night....and come back and respond properly when I can tomorrow.

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well, I had my therapy session this morning....much to my relief....I had been really 'out of it' on Saturday, not sure if it was very noticeable to you folks in my post?

anyway, therapy....

I told her about my dream, and my feelings over the weekend, but on Saturday in particular. How I felt my body was 'jangling', I was paranoid, anxious, panicky, not breathing properly...but couldn't define what my anxiety was about as such.

We talked about what we had been discussing on Friday afternoon, about how my parents never nurtured me in growing up, that I can actually be cared for and loved and nurtured as I grow up in therapy, I don't have to remain little and baby-like to be loved and nurtured.

Its so ...new... to me to feel this, that my maturing can be gently and firmly supported and loved....

My therapist explained how she thinks my dream comes from the past...and how it was for me in my family, in my parents' house, living amidst my father's suspicion of everyone, the dark shadows of his fear of our neighbours, the unknown, my parents' reclusiveness and hermit-like behaviour, the whole atmosphere of disturbance and fragmentation that left me feeling in pieces, and my parents couldn't and didn't 'hold me together' so that I felt safe.

For the first time she actually clearly said that how I'd felt over the weekend related to my childhood home experience as a trauma, and I was having flashbacks, like its still happening.....

I cried when she said this, it is such a relief to have this validation, to be believed in......

when I am like a 'crazy woman' I am not just arbitarily crazy and feeling like am attacking and persecuted etc....I am really in actual fact experiencing flashbacks....I kind of knew this all along, but hadn't had the full acceptance and understanding and clarity that I needed.

perhaps I can love my 'craziness' more now, instead of deriding and ridiculing and laughing at her. maybe I can take her somewhere safe in my mind, allow myself to remove myself from an uncomfortable situation, be more compassionate.

in the session today my therapist did some relaxation and breathing work with me, some grounding exercises to feel the weight of my body on the couch. it helped a lot...I feel much safer.....

I'll save this thread and maybe print a copy so that I have a tangible reminder when it comes up again. which I have no doubt it will, its all part of the healing process....

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For the first time she actually clearly said that how I'd felt over the weekend related to my childhood home experience as a trauma, and I was having flashbacks, like its still happening.....

I cried when she said this, it is such a relief to have this validation, to be believed in......

Flashbacks suck. I'm glad she's making these concepts clear to you, even though we all travel our own journey, there are predictable milestones common to almost all childhood trauma recovery. Flashbacks is one of the *lovlier* yes, that's sarcasm aspect I think universally we all experience. To what degree and intensity and all those variables of course are unique.

Good work. I'm gonna do a big sister thing here, take it fwiw, I don't think you should go off your AD right now. I don't know why they are doing that when you are in active therapy with such highly charged subject matter and emotions, but I just think it's a baaaaaaaaaaad idea. IMO. (which is free by the way...lol...solicited or otherwise... ;) )

Hugs to you sweetie, have a good day (evening?)

S9

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thanks S9...I've never had a big sister, never had ANY sister, so appreciated.... ;) and, I'm not going off the efexor this week...my GP agreed to the 37.5 option, which I am starting with this coming Thursday and continuing until my therapist has had her week away in a few weeks time.

also, I hadn't thought that my experience of living in my parents' house with them was a trauma....to merit flashbacks....but it seems it does....I'm experiencing it all in its fragile intensity....all that I froze off from back then.

but, to desribe it the way my therapist did a while back,and mentioned again today, I can now safely 'fall apart in her arms', metaphorically speaking.

I'm feeling softer, gentler on myself, safer, after today's session.

she also said its ok for me to be wobbly as I go through my recovery....that its normal.....

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also, I hadn't thought that my experience of living in my parents' house with them was a trauma....to merit flashbacks....but it seems it does....I'm experiencing it all in its fragile intensity....all that I froze off from back then.

but, to desribe it the way my therapist did a while back,and mentioned again today, I can now safely 'fall apart in her arms', metaphorically speaking.

I'm feeling softer, gentler on myself, safer, after today's session.

she also said its ok for me to be wobbly as I go through my recovery....that its normal.....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very normal with PTSD, a step forward and sometimes two steps back but march on. This analogy may sound a little gross, but I describe PTSD as a deep, infected wound. When it is first opened it is very painful and  there is a lot of puss that needs to be drained for the wound to heal. I'm glad you feel safe with your tdoc and that she will be there for you as you work together to drain the infection so the deep wound can finally heal properly.

I can really sense from your post that you feel so much better today, and you have a great attitude. Things will be wobbly for a while but you have made a big jump. Be strong but remember when you need extra strength it is there for you.

Erika

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thanks Erika, I can really relate to that analogy. it makes a lot of sense. especially as I dreamt on Saturday night of a bleeding cut/wound in my belly....wouldn't stop bleeding.....but it was healthy, red blood.....which is a positive sign.....as earlier during the day it had felt anything but healthy....the symbolic wound that is, I don't have a real wound there...only an invisible, psychic one....I think posting here and taking in the support was one of the things that helped cleanse the wound for me....

the breathing we did in therapy was really helpful....my therapist made a soft sigh sound on each of my out-breaths for a while...very gently powerful.....

like wiping the wound clean and putting a fresh dressing on it.

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