Posts Tagged 'Visit'

Perfect daughter – where are you?

While growing up, I tried very hard to be the perfect daughter.  I was polite, quiet, obedient, a good student, tidy, shy and seemingly happy.  This is the daughter my mother knows and loves.  She doesn’t know the daughter she is now faced with.  She doesn’t recognise the woman who can’t go outside unless it’s for work; the woman who will stand in the middle of the kitchen and start scratching her hand while staring into space; the woman who says that she can’t serve up dinner because the food has suddenly become dirty and disgusting; the woman who sits on the Internet until 2am because the idea of sleep is too scary for her and she needs the distraction.

This week, the mother has been faced more and more with the daughter she doesn’t know or recognise.  The session on Monday with Liz stirred up all sorts of issues internally and I’ve been struggling to cope with the reaction.  It got to the point on Tuesday night that there was going to be some fairly serious self-destructive behaviour occur if there wasn’t some intervention.  That intervention came in the form of someone coming forward to take photos.  They realised we were too unsafe to drive anywhere, so the usual routine of driving somewhere to take photos was out.  Instead they decided to use some props from around the house to see what they could do.  The mother could tell we weren’t well, so she ended up helping by having a look for different props to photograph and holding the torch we used as a light source.  This is one of the results…

Apple

Apple

Because the mother helped us with all of this, she could monitor us more closely.  She said that it wasn’t until after the photos had all been taken and we were putting them onto the computer for processing that we sort of “came back”.

Awhile ago, Sophie tried to apologise for the not being that perfect daughter the mother remembered.  The mother said that we were probably never that perfect daughter, but she didn’t see it.  She didn’t see what that perfection was hiding.  I think she really does want to help sometimes.  But her own dysfunctional thinking and lack of healing, mean that she will never really be able to help us.  I don’t resent her inability to help us, but I do wish that she would seriously look at her own need to heal.  She went to therapy for a couple of sessions, but then stopped as she thought it wasn’t going anywhere.

I’m aware this makes us sad or uncomfortable or something.  I’m not good at naming or understand emotions, but I noticed that the body was feeling very cold and I need to do up the jersey we wore to work.

Time to go back to being the perfect working daughter…

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Now playing: U2 – Running to Stand Still
via FoxyTunes

Losing myself… over and over

The last few months have been interesting ones to reflect on.  I can spot within the blog entries the points at which I’ve been suicidal, trying to reach out and at what point I shut down and went back to the “everything is fine” mindset.  This is the one of the big advantages of blogging – the ability to reflect back on your thinking.

So I sit here, listening to Missy Higgins and wonder how I can keep going and in which direction to go.  I know that I am losing myself again.  I know I do this regularly.  I get lost, confused and overwhelmed.  I then seem to find some sort of plateau that seems safe for awhile – almost like finding a clearing in the forest.  I’m deep in the forest now and I’ve got no idea which direction to turn.

Having the mother here is difficult.  I have issues about the sound of people eating or breathing – yeah, I know it’s weird.  I can’t stand the sound of either, it seems to get amplified in my head and drives me crazy.  Unfortunately the mother does both fairly loudly.  I wish I could say that I love her and this is the only problem, but in all honesty I don’t love her.  I know some of us feel happy when she is around, but there are no tears when she leaves.  We don’t mind her being here for a short time, but we’d prefer it if she was only here for a very short time.  I know this sounds ungrateful, disrespectful and as if it’s breaking some law of nature.  But I don’t feel anything much towards her.  I also don’t feel hatred, I know that much.

Part of the reason is that I have never felt like a person around her.  If I was noticed, it was as a medical condition, an A+ grade at school, thin, fat, loud, silent, the mistake…  I was never “Michelle”.  This de-humanisation has been present throughout my life.  At the wedding, it became more about what the sister-in-law wanted rather than anything to do with me or the now ex-husband.  This feeling of being an object is what I tried to capture in one of the very first Polyvore sets I did…

I was a silhouette that had no soul, no place and no voice.  I can hear some in the background telling me not to be so melodramatic :)  I apologise, I’m in a rather odd mood.

Yesterday while out mowing the lawns, we decided to give Liz another try.  It was interesting reading through the comments to our entry about our journey with therapists (a BIG thank you to those who contributed).  Our reaction to the comments summed up our history – if it was possible to read into any of them that the whole issue was our fault, we would; if it was possible to read into it that it was the fault of the therapist; we would internally defend them.  It was a replica of our attitude towards our abusers…

Anyway, we’ve decided to give seeing Liz another go.  We don’t have any strong objections to her methodologies (although the religion issue is a big red flag).  Many of our issues with her are about her habits, for example turning her cell phone to vibrate mode.  I’m a little stunned that none of her other clients have found this an issue.  One of the major issues is that we are unable to communicate an issue as it occurs.  Because of this, we couldn’t say “Liz, we find it uncomfortable that you look at your cell phone while we are having a session”.  We sent an email to her to explain some of the issues and to see if she thought therapy was what we needed right now.  She responded that maybe the relationship issues with therapists is something that needs to be part of my healing (or words to that effect).  I agree with this, but also know that I’ve let bad therapeutic relationships go on for too long when they’ve hurt and been destructive.  I don’t trust my own judgement on what to do at a very basic level.  I, as the object doesn’t have a direction…

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Now playing: Missy Higgins – Stuff and nonsense
via FoxyTunes

Triggers and jobs

I could do without triggers and a job at the moment.  Life would be much simpler without them!  So far this week:

1)  30 sq.m. of office space was taken from the office at work.  This meant that the two people we get on with, have moved out of the office.  This is good for them, in that they are further away from the drama and poisonous environment that exists in the library.  But it’s really bad for us.  We’re not going to talk to people unless we’re doing a desk shift now, so our grip on reality is going to lessen.

The new wall is partially up – along with the associated noise, disruption etc.  This has caused the library staff, who were already stressed, to basically turn on each other.  Several of the woman we work with have a tendency to speak before they think.  One in particular will get upset and fly off the handle with very little provocation.  She needs to have tight control over everything and if that control is threatened, then there will be fireworks.  The problem is, that she often moans about it all to our cynical friend, who just doesn’t have the emotional reserves to cope with anything else.

2)  We carried out a major system upgrade this week.  So all week we’ve been testing different aspects of the system and how the new library catalogue will appear.  It was all going OK, until it did a false “live” status on Thursday morning.  That meant that our cynical friend got caught off-guard with an off-line upload which she knew wasn’t meant to happen, but couldn’t stop.  Then today, when we finally went live.  Suddenly it was doing weird things with the images and giving temporary location statuses which were unnecessary.  Everyone came and complained to us individually about it – like we were meant to magically fix the stupid thing.

3)  Because of factors 1 and 2 as well as her husband being told his cancer is now stage IV, our cynical friend has had several melt-downs at work – bursting into tears, having to go for a walk to calm down etc.  She wrote her resignation letter on Thursday morning while still crying her eyes out.  I managed to tell her to wait until next week to hand it in, to give herself the chance to calm down.

4)  Because of factors 1-3, we’ve been self-injuring daily.  When we talked to Liz on Monday, we had to rate the severity and regularity of our self-injury.  We rarely cut, but our self-injury ranges from the subtle to the severe and occurs daily.  That was a scary realisation.  That realisation led to another round of self-injury.  M has stated that one of our goals with Liz is to try and work on hating this body a little less – she’s thinking big picture, as she knows it won’t happen overnight.  Liz gave us a time-frame of 18 months to being better, I hope she’s right.

5)  A friend shared something positive with us, but it caused so much confusion and hurt.  Nothing they did, purely our screwed up responses to a normal situation.  The image they provided of innocence, got so caught up in our past that we couldn’t cope with it.  I got overwhelmed by the young ones screaming that the girl would be hurt.  Sometimes its really easy to believe that we’re making up events from the past, then something like that happens and it stops you in your tracks.  Why would we react that way if we were making it all up?

6)  Matthew (our American friend) has returned to prostitution.  We’re all so worried about him.  It’s his choice, but he’s hurting, is going to get hurt further and there’s nothing we can do about it.

7)  Mother is moving in with us for the month of August.  Yup, the whole month.

I know that Zombie by The Cranberries is a protest song about Northern Ireland, but many of the lyrics also are relevant to what goes on in this head – the bombs and guns are like the triggers which cause the violence, silence and crying…

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Now playing: The Cranberries – Zombie
via FoxyTunes
watch via YouTube

What now?

Early in the week we contacted the mother about going for a visit to try and break the cycle of suicidal ideation that we’re experiencing.  She didn’t answer, so we called her a couple of nights ago to see what she thought.  She pointed out that we would have to interact with the sister and sister-in-law if we went there – not a positive thing.  The main theme of the conversation revolved around going there not being a good idea and several times re-enforcing that she couldn’t come up here.  We said several times that we weren’t asking anyone to come up here… *sigh*

After this conversation, we thought we’d go for the road trip to get out of town for awhile.  We started to organise for our cat to go into a boarding place etc.  But one night as we were stroking her to sleep and telling her (and us) that she’ll be nice and safe in the boarding place, this young voice said “cos we won’t be back”.  It hit us then that parts of this brain were planning for a suicide while we were out of town.  I knew that suicide would have been a possibility as we would have organised everything for us not being here – work, cat etc.  We’re convinced that if we died, within a week we’d be forgotten.  Taking a week off work would have fitted that criteria.  But I didn’t consciously consider this a real threat until this young one piped up.  Maybe I just didn’t want to know about the plans?  Not sure…

That brought us back to having no plan to break the cycle.  Then last night the mother calls again and asks if we’re going down to her.  I know we’re hearing impaired and can mis-understand things, but earlier in the week it was a very clear that we weren’t encouraged to go there, now we are??  The mother has said that she expects us to commit suicide one day, so maybe the first call was a defense mechanism on her part?  Or, maybe she just couldn’t be bothered talking to us that night – we rarely call her anyway.

I know the sensible thing would be to go for an assessment for respite or in-patient care.  But we’re so badly triggered by hospitals that it would cause a further downward spiral.  We also appear to be still high functioning, so we would probably be just seen as attention seeking.

Not quite sure what to do.

Go home?

Today we went and saw the new therapist for our fourth session.  It didn’t go well.  The need to self injure and the level of suicidal ideation has been increasing steadily for the last few weeks.  Because we’re switching so rapidly when even mildly stressed, we were all over the place in the session.  The only techniques she had to try and keep us present or in the room was to get us to describe three things we could see, hear or feel.  At the best of times we have very little body sensation, so asking us to describe a tactile feeling is difficult – when she asked us to describe the feeling of our jeans under our palms we answered that it was rough, because we know denim should feel rough.  Regarding things we hear, well we’re hearing impaired so we could only hear the rain.  Visually we usually look at a spot on the floor which allows us to see a majority of the floor space, that way we can monitor anyone approaching us from our peripheral vision. But today because of the anxiety and need to protect, our vision narrowed and we could only see small patches straight in front of us.  When she asked us to look up at a fan, we couldn’t do it until our fifth attempt and a switch to someone who could look around.

After the session we went to work.  When going to get a hot drink we realised that we really need some help to ensure our safety.  We’re thinking of going for a visit to our home town for a week.  Not sure if it would help or trigger us further.  Not sure if we can even do it, as we would have to find someone to look after our cat.  Just know that things are getting a little out of control.  It’s not too bad, but we’re doing stupid things – writing a comment on Discussing Dissociation and not putting our point across clearly so it was misunderstood, not being able to think through things logically at work, finding sets we’ve done on Polyvore that have suicidal themes…

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Now playing: Brooke Fraser – Lifeline
via FoxyTunes

Give me back some good memories please

When the mother visited last time we talked about the childhood and some of the things that happened.  In some respects I think she was checking out when we were hurt and by whom – a fairly understandable concern for a mother.  What became very obvious is that huge chunks of the childhood are missing from our collective memory.  This is for both good and bad incidents.

I’m quite happy with the knowledge that you don’t remember everything from your childhood.  But what I really need is some good memories to hold onto.  There’s no way that the childhood was all bad.  I know there are some good pieces, and this was confirmed by the mother when we were talking about it.  She’d ask “do you remember…” with a smile in her voice; but we couldn’t remember it.  Admittedly this is the woman who had a baby photo of our cousin and tried to tell us it was us, so odds are her memory isn’t all that accurate either.  But where in this head are some good memories?

Aimee is our happiest and carefree young one, but she holds almost no memories.  She was purely there to be happy and appease everyone around us – she did this well.  K has a smile which would break your heart, but it’s a smile born out of being scared all the time – it’s very tentative.

When the mother was talking about the good memories, it became obvious that not many of them were totally positive.  I remember Nanna brushing our hair dry one time when we were staying with them in Wellington, this is the only totally positive.  The rest are tinged in some way – on holiday at the Marlborough Sounds, getting out of the car and running to find the ocean… we found it by falling down a cliff.  Deciding to eat raw pumpkin seeds before going on a family holiday… only to throw them all up before reaching the town limits.  Being the smallest in the family so being told to go up the storm water drains to scare the eels down for the brothers to catch.  These stories are often told with humorous teasing at family gatherings, but we don’t remember the events.  I can see how they’re funny, but they’re not the sort of thing that you can hold onto when you’re whole body is shaking from a triggered abusive memory.

Whoever in this head has got the good memories, can they share them with me please…  Could really do with some good stuff right now.

Wow… A breakthrough of sorts…

Tonight we showed the mother a clip we did to show the different parts we know of that make up our dissociative system…  We were terrified about what her reaction would be, but she just watched it and then gave us a hug!  She then asked questions which didn’t hurt or demean us…

She doesn’t understand it, but wants to know how people around us can help…

Tonight she admitted that there was psychological abuse in the house when we were growing up!!!  She has never admitted to any form of abuse occurring before.

WOW…  We’re stunned…

It’s going to take awhile to process it all…


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