Posts Tagged 'ACC'

Liz and attention seeking

It was an interesting session with Liz today.  I had gone there with a plan of what to talk about – boundaries (especially around religion), our diagnosis, what that diagnosis means and her cell phone.  This agenda probably indicates that a fair amount of M went into the planning – it was a little optimistic that we would be able to get through all of that without dissociating badly and losing the entire session.

We went in prepared… or so we thought.  In our usual fashion we walked into the office, sat down and became unable to look anywhere apart from the floor, her beanbags, stuffed toys and tissues.  Sophie fronted while a major discussion happening internally about how to broach the subjects.  Liz has this habit of waiting for us to talk first; we have this habit of sitting there, unable to talk.  Today she asked how we should start each session – waiting for us to talk, or for her to start asking questions.  We said unless she wants to spend an hour in silence, she’s best to ask a few questions first :)

Sophie started off saying that religion shouldn’t be mentioned unless W raises it first.  W will raise it, but Liz needs to wait for that to occur.  W is consistently curious about why other people believe in whichever religion they follow and has asked all our previous therapists about their beliefs.  Liz just has to be ready for the grilling that she will face when W does ask.  W has heard many of the reasons behind why a God would “allow” abuse to occur, so Liz needs to have some solid arguments to present or else W will dismiss or destroy her logic.

Then things went a little haywire as Liz again brought in issues which really shouldn’t be raised mid session regarding ACC funding further sessions.  As neither of us had been notified of any decision, she called them during the session – she asked if that would be OK with us and we’re incapable of saying “No”.  This then led onto a discussion where ACC are going through new guidelines where clients who haven’t met their goals will be referred to a psychologist.  Liz wasn’t sure if this meant existing clients as well, but it was something to be aware of.  This triggered all our self-hatred for not being “cured” yet, and being a problem client for not being “cured”.  Does it mean we’ll have to go see someone like Bob again?  What will ACC do with us?  We rarely meet our goals as we don’t fit into a definable goal framework – we show gradual change over time rather than a “cured food issues” sort of thing.

All of this triggering brought forward someone I’ve never met before.  They were male and from either Ellie’s floor or The Basement.  They communicated with Liz and asked what had happened to trigger them coming forward.  They were actually pretty polite, but the whole time they talked he continually ran the sharp keys across palm of the left hand.  He didn’t break the skin and kept talking in a non-threatening way, but kept on hurting the body.  Liz tried to distract him with the soft toys that he could squeeze instead, but that idea was rejected.

When Sophie returned, she could tell something had happened with the hand, as it felt hot.  We don’t feel pain very much, but could feel the heat radiating from the hand.  Liz explained what had happened and Sophie tried to explain that it wasn’t attention seeking.  It may look like it as we were sitting in front of someone hurting the body, but it wasn’t for attention.  It was purely to punish.  At this point Liz stunned us, and agreed.  She knew it wasn’t for attention.  I don’t know how she came to this conclusion, as we’ve always been told that any sort of self-injury was for negative, attention seeking purposes.  Also the undeniable fact that, we were sort of doing self-injury in front of her – surely that means we were attention seeking.  But according to Liz we weren’t.  I think the reason she saw it this way was because she was totally irrelevant in the self-injury.  It wasn’t being done to manipulate her or modify her behaviour in any way, it was just what that one needed or wanted to do.  It wasn’t really a big deal in the scheme of things.  But for us, it was another indication that we are crazy and losing our ability to act “normal”.

This then led into the final big issue regarding our diagnosis and what that means.  This has always been a sore issue for us – DID is not widely recognised in New Zealand and is seen in a negative light.  Liz’ experience with other dissociative clients means that she can compare our behaviour to theirs.  This comparison will mean that she can state with some certainty that we do, or don’t have DID.  We’re stuck between the options which could describe our behaviour and thinking:

  • Believe that the childhood was perfect and we’re now attention seeking.
  • Believe that the childhood wasn’t perfect and we have an undiagnosed personality disorder.
  • Believe that the childhood was traumatic and we have a trauma or dissociative disorder of some sort.

The problem is that the parallel truths about the childhood are so vivid.  On one side there is the perfect childhood where we feel loved and safe; on the other side is abuse, pain and fear.  A previous therapist has stated that these two truths don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive, but it’s hard to see where they would meet or co-exist.  Liz responded that each of us play roles within this life – how we present at work is different from how we present at home, in parties, out shopping etc.  I accept this is true, so it seems to be that Liz is saying that we’re not dissociative, but rather are doing a bit of hysterical attention seeking through exaggerating what is nothing major.  The session ended before we could fully talk through the implications of what she was saying.

Sorry for the rambling waffle, I’m trying to make sense of what happened in the session and failing.  I’m not sure if this is a continuation of my ability to appear higher functioning than I feel, or whether Liz is seeing me accurately and I need to just get over myself.

Advertisements

Our journey with therapists

I’ve seen 4 therapists in the last 5 years.  That seems a high number.  M was told by Liz that we have very high expectations of therapists, maybe they are too high?  Here’s a brief run-down of what happened with each –

Debra seen for 6-8 months.
Worked part-time from home.  Her methods were based on Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.  She was intelligent and studying towards her masters.  Reason why we stopped seeing her was because of boundary issues and she was stopping therapy work to concentrate on her masters.

Carol seen for 2.5 years.
Worked part-time from offices.  Her methods were based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with some influence from other methodologies including Dialectical Behavioural Therapy. Reason why we stopped seeing her was because of boundary issues and her fascination with our dissociation. She loved playing with Aimee. She wasn’t helping us move forward in any meaningful way and we’d started to become convinced that she had planted the whole idea of DID in our head.

Bob seen for 6-8 months.
Worked full-time from her extremely busy offices. She came highly recommended and we saw her to try and find out if we were making this dissociation thing up. She had extensive experience with abused teens and children. Things went a bit haywire with Bob when she was trying to force an integration of personality states to counter what she described as a “fragile personality structure”. We stopped seeing her when the short term contract was up with ACC.

Liz seen for about 6 months.
Works part-time from offices. She was the only therapist willing to take on a client that came with warnings about dissociative issues. She has other dissociative clients and came recommended from another therapist. We don’t know if we can go back to see her.

Earlier this week we posted a rant that was fairly quickly deleted.  It covered the issues we’d had when seeing Liz on Monday and problems we’d seen throughout the time we’d been seeing her.  Some of these include:

  • Turning her cell phone volume down during sessions.  It has rung during session, so you get the noise of a vibrating cell phone dancing across the desk as you’re trying to talk about something important.  She has also looked at the cell phone to see who is calling while in session.
  • She has a habit of clearing her throat when being asked something difficult or is faced with challenging ones within the system.  Mickie is generally silent during sessions when fronting, which prompted much throat clearing and a conversation about us living alone meaning that we don’t know how to socialise and make conversation.
  • On Monday there was a discussion about our night-time photography trips and the reason why we’re doing them – to get hurt.  Liz suggested that the reason why we hadn’t been hurt was because of someone or something looking out for us.  She was meaning a higher power of some sort.  Any talk of religion is a huge trigger for us.  It felt more like the focus of the discussion had moved from helping us, to preaching to us.
  • She is unable to remember our basic biographical information – we’re the youngest of four, get on alright with the oldest brother and have minimal contact with the entire family.  This is the sort of information that she has asked several times, including constructing a sociogram with us.  If the information was important enough to ask several times, it’s important enough for her to remember or to write on the front page of our file for easy reference.

Monday’s session was particularly bad.  The religion trigger set off a negative reaction with W.  M came forward to protect W when she realised what was going on, but it was too late.  This meant that M came forward annoyed that Liz was talking religion without checking out who was present and their beliefs about the subject.

It was after Liz again asked M about our basic biographical information that things got particularly tense.  M asked why Liz had to keep asking about this information, Liz responded that she might get a different answer one day.  M pointed out that we would always be the youngest of four children and unless something major happened, we’d still feel the same about the family as we do now.  Liz said our expectation that she would manage this information was too high, M asked what a reasonable expectation would be…

To be fair, M was defensive as Liz had challenged one of the young ones she protects.  But Liz was helpless to find us all a way through that defensive mechanism.  We left without making a further appointment.  If this has been a one off bad session we would have had a cool-off period and made another appointment.  But it isn’t, it’s the latest in a series of unusual sessions.

Now we’re stuck.  We don’t trust Liz and don’t know if we can go back to see her.  But if we don’t, are we doing so because our expectations are too high?  Are we being unreasonable with our expectations that a therapist will manage basic information, silence their cell phone and not talk about sensitive issues without checking who is present?  Maybe our reaction is off the scale because of our dysfunctional thinking and reactions?

—————-
Now playing: Audioslave – Cochise
via FoxyTunes

Time to take a deep breath

The last few weeks have been difficult. The prospect of ACC mediation on Tuesday (21st) had us going off on all sorts of tangents. Then last Thursday (16th), ACC made a decision which meant that the mediation was no longer needed, although they have yet to look at our corrections which will odds are require another round of negotiation.  Despite this apparent cancellation of the meeting, the potential sat within the system.  Some of us considered it to be like the tricks played on us when younger. At any moment we were going to get a phone call on Tuesday telling us to get to the meeting. Thankfully that phone call never happened, instead we got to spend the two days we had arranged to have off to recover from the meeting as time to breathe.

On Monday night we chatted with a friend who’d been on holiday for what seemed like a very long time.  He helped us smile, laugh and shed a tear.  Through a photo slide show he took us on a tour of where he lived – it was fascinating.  I’m always awed by the historic nature of where most of the people I talk to live.  To put this into context, New Zealand has had only been a British colony since 1840.  We don’t have the old buildings that are present elsewhere around the world.  To show him a little of where we live, we went out taking photos (at midnight)…

Mural

This mural is in a car-parking area in the middle of town.

This was the only photo that turned out viewable – we have an essential tremor which doesn’t mix well with night photography and the long exposure times needed.  We might have another go at doing a tour of where we live on a fine day.

On Tuesday we needed to get out of the house – possibly the fear that they’d call and we’d have to go to the meeting.  So we went around the gardens and took more photos.  Photography is fast becoming our main means of distracting, focusing and self-soothing.  Part of the soothing, is to take photos of plants.  I know that many people consider this type of photography boring, but for us it’s about finding peace for a short time.  It’s something that each one of us can enjoy on some level – I’ll get a message to take a photo of the purple flowers…

Lilac viola

Lilac viola

Purple viola

Purple viola

Sometimes, the camera feels very cumbersome in my hands and I’ve taken to wrapping the strap around my right hand several times, I’m not sure if this is a switching issue, or me being a klutz. I also know that not all of us are happy with this new interest – I’ve been told that the camera is going to be thrown into the lake or smashed into the pavement.  I know that these threats are about us not being entitled to any form of enjoyment.  It’s awful to hear, let alone realise that part of this brain is wired to ensuring that we don’t enjoy life.

On Tuesday night we ended up talking to another friend.  I mention this because it was the first time in over a week where S didn’t come forward to self-injure, which had become more severe as the week went on.  Again, there was laughter and a sharing of knowledge.  It always amazes me that those who are going through difficult times can put that aside to help someone else.  To those friends, I say thank you.  I hope we can reciprocate what you both did for us one day.

This reminds me of Faith Allen’s entry over at Blooming Lotus about how we can Make a difference.  You don’t have to be rich, pretty or popular to make a difference, it’s all about being willing to learn and share that knowledge for the social good.  I stumble badly with this sometimes, the fear and anxieties put up barriers to my learning.  But I can’t use this as an excuse to give up.  When teaching information literacy to cynical and usually technophobic students, I tell them it takes practice.  Information literacy is all about lifelong learning – being curious about new things.  It would be hypocritical of me not to gently work on those barriers in the same way that I get my students to question every scrap of information they find.

Broken heap on the floor

On Thursday we got a call from ACC.  After three months deliberation on our case, they made one minor change.  M asked how our corrections to the report had been factored into this decision.  ACC response – what corrections?  They had never received them, or lost them.  To put this into context, we started this process in February of last year, it’s gone through about five different variations on the report and now gone to mediation.  It took us two weeks and a lot of strength to write those corrections which involved correcting the details of our abuse and more devastatingly, writing anywhere for the first time that the father sexually abused us.  So this was highly confidential, soul destroying information… and they LOST it!  It could have ended up anywhere, anyone could have been reading it – it had our name, address and everything on it.

When I’ve told people this, their immediate response is “Oh no, do you have a copy on your computer?”  Yes, of course we do.  I know that’s the reasonable response you give to an adult.  But SO holds the secrets on that bit of paper and she is 7.  All she sees is that we should never have told the secrets cos it’s bad and lots of people read it and it’s bad and we’s get into trouble and we’s bad and evil and it all our fault.  It becomes a mantra that we’re bad and evil for telling.  W and SO are closely linked within the system.  SO gets upset and W will react.  This action meant a call to the mental health crisis line on Thursday night to stop the suicide.  In typical form with our interactions with this team, the connection was bad and they were going to call back.  They did eventually – on Saturday.  We had the usual conversation:

Crisis Line: You’re suicidal, lets bring you in for an assessment.
Us: No thanks, your only option is hospital and that isn’t an option for me.
Crisis Line: No, we also have community placements or agree to regular contact for a week to see how you’re going.  We can also get you in to see one of our community psychiatrists.

Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?  Almost like they will be able to help.

Us: In my experience that has never happened.  I’ve been promised community placement, only to end up in the psychiatric ward.  I’ve had phone calls daily from your team and they’re more triggering than helpful.
Crisis Line: Well I’m sorry that has been your experience, let us know if we can help.

I know that those of you who haven’t experienced their services will say I’m being stupid for rejecting this assistance.  I know that they have saved many lives.  But our issues with authority and psychiatric hospitals mean that they are more likely to kill than save us.  We call them for the distraction, nothing more.

One of us called them again on Saturday night and we ended up being hauled in for an assessment.  It was hell.  We need peaceful surroundings and control when we’re suicidal.  But last night it was raining and there was international rugby on TV.  Those two factors meant that a great deal of the homeless had decided to be suicidal that night in order to watch the rugby, have a shower, get a meal and warm bed.  The shelters would’ve been overwhelmed, and they know that if you say you’re suicidal, they have to admit you.

We managed to get out of the hospital and get to the relative safety of home.  But we’re a mess.  The oddest things are triggering.  We know that people need to talk about how they cope with sex as a survivor.  But today, it’s too much.  It’s become about others not being safe – cos all sex hurts.

We’re in trouble and I don’t know how to fix it.

A very “un-special” day

Had therapy this morning after a couple of weeks break.  It was rough.  Liz said that we needed to fill in the paperwork for ACC so that more sessions can be allocated.  So we sat down to be put through red-tape hell.  In many respects the ACC system is designed to assist those within therapy to keep track of what is happening and ensure that the process is safe for the client and checks are made on the therapists techniques.  In reality, we sat there for 40 minutes listing the symptoms we experience.  It was either do it all in one hit, or spread the torture out over several weeks, so it was better to get it over and done with.  I just wish she’d waited for another week…  She periodically asked if we were OK and breathing – I wonder if she expected me to be honest??

Something that we always struggle with, is any expression of emotion from the therapist.  I don’t really care if something we say touches her.  I’d rather not know.  If I have to protect her from being affected by the crap that I know I’m going to have to say at some stage, I’d rather just move on and find another therapist.  I’d rather talk to a brick wall than talk to someone who is going to say that something trivial touches them.  I’m sure this is because of our avoidance of attachment, and it’s something that we’re going to have to address.

Not quite sure what’s happening internally, I know we had a couple of good days.  We seriously got caught up in taking photos and editing them – thanks for the tip about RAW images Paul.  But that seems to have been deflated with the session today.  Liz knew it had gone badly as she picked up on our withdrawl from her…

Host personality & secrets

Just read an interesting post by Faith Allen about the Importance of integrating the host personality.  This post hit a sore spot in that were not really sure who or what our host personality “looks” like.  Surely this is the sort of thing you’re meant to know?  I know more about who ISN’T the host, than who is…  You’d sort of think that this sort of thing would be obvious – ok, so maybe they haven’t got “Host Personality” tattooed on their forehead, but something would instinctively let you know surely???

We did have one who was the predominant fronting personality for much of our adult life, and her name is the one given to this body at birth, so maybe she’s “it”?  Only problem is that a couple of years ago  T thought the body was curled up on the couch reading, but it was actually S fronting having to have sex with the then husband and S forced T to see this.  At that point T went into her room in our internal house and locked the door.  We haven’t seen or heard from her since.

Feels like we’re trying to do a puzzle with most of the pieces missing and no idea what the final picture is meant to look like…

The following may trigger as a mild incident of abuse is discussed.

So onto secrets…  Over the last few weeks we’ve been struggling because we knew there was something going on internally, but we weren’t quite sure what it was.  We knew there were external stressors – ACC mediation, applying for a new job, finding a therapist etc, but this was something internal and quite different.  On Thursday we had another appointment with the woman’s support scheme/group that Bob encouraged us to contact.  In the morning we’d had a meeting about the review of the re-structuring that had occurred last year, so were very on edge and dissociated because of the stress.  When we got there the woman realised we were a bit out of it and suggested we do something other than talk.  She suggested drawing with crayons, which immediately fitted with what we needed to do.  After a bit of hesitation we agreed and sat on the floor with these crayons.  Thankfully the woman had to leave the room to go get some more colours (maybe just a good excuse?), so we could sit and gather ourselves.  There was an immediate need to go crazy on the paper with lots of red and black – just ram the crayon into the paper and rip it across so that it became covered in the black redness.  Sophie was overwhelmed at this point and a young one came forward.  She picked up the brown crayon and drew a table and chairs…  It was the classroom.

When we were in primary school there were a few students who knew quite a bit about sex – beyond the normal exploration.  We were one of this group.  Because this behaviour was such a normal part of our lives, we carried this sexual behaviour into the classroom.  One day we were under the table in the classroom pleasing one of the boys while a lesson was going on.  A student at another table suddenly yelled out “Look Miss Y, they’re doing dirty things”.  Miss Y looked straight at us while we were still under the table and as we moved to get back onto our chair, then she looked away.  Nothing happened as a result of this incident.

We’ve always wondered why this incident has affected us so badly.  It certainly wasn’t the worst thing an adult did to us.  Plenty of other adults had already turned a blind eye by that time.  Over the last few weeks we’d noticed this incident just sitting under the surface, chipping away at our safety.  After the young one had drawn this picture, the woman asked us about the incident.  It was only then we realised the true impact of this incident – we did more than tell the secrets that day, someone saw them and THEY DID NOTHING!  If a teacher saw the secrets and did nothing, what is the use of talking about them now?  No one will believe us.  So there’s no point in going to therapy, it’s all hopeless.  It was good to finally realise what the problem was.  We know what we’re facing again…

—————-
Now playing: I’ll follow you into the dark – Deathcab for Cutie
via FoxyTunes

Queen of Procrastination

This weekend we HAVE to finish the abuse history for ACC.  So far other fascinating jobs have meant that we’ve been unable to do this.  Jobs such as – doing the shopping; searching for images for a Polyvore set which we ended up not doing; doing household chores; trying to find a new container for a pot plant; playing cards online; answering some messages on YouTube; going to the library to drop off some books not due back for three weeks; this post…  So yeah, like vital stuff :)

Kinda wondering how long we can make this post…

Or maybe we’ll just spell check it lots…

Ohhh Earth Hour means we can’t do anything on the computer between 8.30 and 9.30…

To continue the random theme, there was a very odd conversation on Thursday between B and one of the student assistants at work.  He worked for over 10 years in a psychiatric ward while living in England – he refused to do similar work over here when he saw the conditions, techniques and methodologies used.  We’ve talked previously about mental health issues in general – he has no idea about our diagnoses.  He’s another of our cynical buddies who questions everything – usually appropriately.

Ok, so back to Thursday…  He’d been working the front desk for a couple of hours and when we came out he was ready to pull what remains of his hair out.  He’d had a stream of what he called “thick as” students.  Did I mention that he is probably one of the most intelligent people I know?  After showing his concern about the lack of common sense and academic ability amongst the student body of the institution, we joked about this factor being what made us feel more sane.  Usually he would joke along with us, but for some reason on Thursday he didn’t.  I’m not sure if he spotted us as being more vulnerable or what it was, but instead of the usual banter that would go long the lines of “we feel more sane and intelligent because we’re faced with greater stupidity and insanity”… he just straight up said “I’ve never noticed your brain not working correctly.  It works fine.”  At first we thought he was still playing around; but no, he was really serious.

M just reminded me that on Thursday we had our first appointment with the woman’s support programme, so we probably looked vulnerable to someone who knew what clues to look for.  I know he’s looked closely at our arm a couple of times – one self-injury scar is noticeable if you know what it is.  Hmmm going to have to be very “normal” with him this week and hope he forgets last week.

While we’re putting off the inevitable ACC hoop jumping exercise…  We’ve sort of reached an odd point with this blog.  We enjoy writing here, but as with anything that goes on the Internet it is open to misunderstanding, insults and ridicule.  We’ve experienced all of these in the YouTube and Polyvore sites, and we’ve recently experienced it from one of our blog entries.  With the YouTube comments, they were easily ignored because they obviously were from a very conservative view that was so out of touch with reality that it unsettled us, but didn’t really hurt too much.  But with the Polyvore and the blog instances it was a little harder to cope with.  It also tends to happen more when Sophie is involved – possibly because she is softer emotionally and that can show in the work we do.  There’s not much that we can do about it – it tends to be other people with issues pushing their extreme ideas.

Ohhh well, better go and find something else to use as an avoidance technique…


October 2017
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Categories

I’m feeling…

My Unkymood Punkymood (Unkymoods)

Twitter Updates

del.icio.us