Exacerbation

Exacerbation

My mood has taken a serious nosedive.  I am feeling no resiliency this time, no ability to bounce back.  I don’t know how I am going to manage…I am not quite sure how I am currently managing.  The AT asked me Monday if I needed more intensive care/support and stubborn me said no.  I think that was a poor choice on my part. But I didn’t want to deal with new people.

I feel withdrawn and hopeless and numb and hurt and disconnected/foggy.

I did email the AT yesterday for an extra appointment today…I don’t know if it will help or not.  But I need a coping plan and hopefully he can help me make one.

Therapy Monday and Yesterday

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Therapy Monday

Thursday was a hard therapy day.  We worked on those feeling cards that I had mentioned before…I draw a feeling and then on the back of the card, I write the name of the feeling and then what I know about it.  Sometimes, I can’t label the feeling…but that is okay.

And Thursday, he finally even did something that makes sense with the cards.  Later in the session he was asking me what I was feeling…and he held up a card and said, “Are you feeling this?” and then with another card and another…This is something I can handle!  I can’t necessarily name my feeling…but when he shows me my picture…I can see which one I am feeling.  (Or as the case may be on Thursday, I picked two feelings.)

But…I digress.  So I did a Fear card.  I drew a brick, because fear blocks me…keeps me from doing so much, is sort of the brick wall I hit in many ways. And I shaded black around it.   On the back, I wrote about it…I don’t remember all that I wrote, I know I wrote that Fear is my guiding principle….I just don’t remember the others things.

Then the AT asked what was under the fear…Or what the fear was blocking…something to that effect.  And he asked or said that it was Hurt. And maybe he even asked me to draw Hurt? (Sorry, my memory about this part is a bit sketchy.) And I went into total lock-down.  Total. Lockdown.  As in…I packed up my feelings, packed up the oil pastels, packed up the art mode and retreated to “my” chair.  Except, my feelings were not packed up…I was a wreck.  We can’t talk about Hurt. I can’t talk about Hurt. And I can not feel it.  Oh…and as usual…the AT wouldn’t let me dissociate. He seems to have the impression I need to stay in the room and be present.  So, I was miserable and emotionally imploding (again) and completely shut down.  It was soo hard!

Anyway…after a hard session like that, I never really know what to expect at the following session.  I guess I will find out in a couple hours.

Yesterday

Yesterday turned out to be an okay day.  I was tired, even after all that sleep and I ended up cutting things off of my over-extended “to do” list.  I did get together with my friend in the afternoon…Which was actually the most important thing on my list…so I am glad I did.

And mood-wise…I held it together…This morning…not so much.  I at least still feel functional…but I just want to curl up and cry.  But today is another long day because I work after Art Therapy….curling up and withdrawing from the world is not an option.  So, I will suck it up and put on my game face and compartmentalize like crazy.

I Made It! and Sleep & Dreams

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I Made It!

I made it through the whole day of the Meet and Greet yesterday (8+ hours) and it went really well. I talked to dozens of people, negotiated dogs, chatted with small children and chatted with the other volunteers.  Dh an ds had the stamina to stay all day too.  It was actually pretty fun.  I have never posted pics of my doggers before…But here are my buddies.

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Yup…total balls of energy! 😉

We took both dogs to the Meet and Greet in the morning, but the black dog got too stressed, so dh zipped him home.  The white dog stayed for the whole day and was fawned over non-stop…She was in doggy heaven!

I made some dry biscuit mixes and donated them to be sold for the rescue.  They were an unbelievable hit and we almost sold out of them yesterday…Only four jars were left for selling today (the M&G is at a two day event). I’ll have to make twice as many for next year!

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There is a fundraising barbecue and shopping event for the rescue in October and I will again be making up these jars…Clearly, they are popular.

And…the best part of yesterday?  This little bit of awesomeness.

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Maple cotton candy. They spin it with maple sugar instead of cane sugar….I cannot properly describe how wonderful it is!  It is once a year treat and I totally look forward to it!!

The event was a good distraction from my mood…though, once we got home my mood came back along with the dark thoughts (suicidal ideation) and hopelessness. However, I am doing better so far today…so I am hoping I worked my way through that mood plunge.

Sleep and Dreams

Of course, I may be feeling better this morning because I finally slept some last night. After that busy day yesterday, and the lack of sleep from the prior few nights, I was in bed at 5 of 7 last night and slept for 11 hours! Yup….11!!!  Crazy, huh?  But I really needed the catch up.

And my dreams cooperated last night.  I did have dreams of children in danger and trying to rescue them and running through woods and snow and hiding in buildings with them.  And I dreamed about weird inappropriate adult/child relationships.  And I had some other dream about travelling and being lost…not knowing what the right road to take was. And another dream about work and the patients…But none of them were intense enough to be a nightmare for which I am incredibly relieved. I could use a few more nights without nightmares and then I would not be so an edge.  We’ll see what my brain allows.

Today is another busy day…Another outing requiring me to be social and visible, maybe a short get together with a friend and then I have to go back to the Meet and Greet and retrieve our tables that we lent them for the weekend. Oh…and the kind of apple we really like has just started picking at the orchard…So, I want to go pick some apples too.  Do ya think I am overly ambitious with my plans?

Obligated

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Obligated

At least I compartmentalize well…That’s what got me through work yesterday.

Still not sleeping very well…I stayed up later than usual last night so that I would be exhausted when I went to bed.  I woke up just after 3 and then sort of dozed and rested until I got up at 4. I am so tired I am numb.

I have to pull out my best compartmentalization today. Ages ago, I volunteered today to help the dog rescue from which we got our dog. I am obligated to spend pretty much all day at a “Meet and Greet” event where I will have to be social and pleasant and outgoing.  I am sooo not in the frame of mind to do this event!  But dh and ds are going and we are taking at least one of the two dogs…So with that support and my fabulous compartmentalizing skills…I ought to make it through.

The exhaustion however is another story.  It’s going to be a long day.

Sleep

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Sleep

I am terrified to sleep.  And I am exhausted from not sleeping well.  Last night, once I fell asleep, I did sleep deeply and though I know I dreamed, I can’t really recall what about….so that is a relief.  But I woke up at 3 and could not fall back asleep.  Partly this is because my worst dreams tend to be the ones closest to when I wake up, so I didn’t want to fall back asleep.  And partly because that is the pattern of my insomnia when I have it….I usually don’t lay awake for a long time in the evening…but the mornings are a different story.

The worst thing for my mood plunge is lack of sleep…I don’t think well or reasonably on little sleep.  I need to be very, very careful to not let my thoughts take me to scary places.  Of course, this mood plunge has already taken my thoughts to pretty dark places….And I also feel like I can barely function. And like I just want to sob all the time.

I am totally broken right now.  It doesn’t seem fair…I was doing really well…and then CRASH.  I don’t know what I ever did to deserve this punishment.  I hate being alive.

Yoga and Dreams

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Yoga

I won’t say that yesterday’s yoga was a waste…because I don’t think yoga ever is…But I never got out of my head and really into the yoga.  I knew I was going to have a hard time…and when we started with our Exquisiteness Meditation, I could not settle my brain.  But it has been cold at night now, so I made my way to the rock at the end of the pond and sat on it hoping the coldness would at least ground me so I could be more present.  And the rock had some fern shaped tendrils of moss branching off from a small clump of moss…And the tendrils were soft.  So, I sat there on the cold rock gently stroking the moss. But…I just couldn’t bring myself into the moment.  I could feel the cold. I could feel the hard. I could feel the soft.  But I couldn’t get my mind there.

And that’s kind of how all of yoga went.  I couldn’t get my breathing focused, I couldn’t get my mind to unwind, I couldn’t get the tension out of my face….And a couple of times….I just plain felt like crying.

The Yoga Instructor was good…I know that she was aware I was having a hard time and she was a good calming presence.  And she started our session by saying that she welcomes me wherever I am at.  (She said it better…that was just my loose paraphrase.) But it is nice to know that it is okay to be me…even if that me is feeling particularly sensitive and damaged and sad.

Dreams

I dreaded going to bed last night. Really, I never want to sleep again.  How long do you think I could stay awake and not have to dream? Probably not long enough.  And I cannot ban myself from dreaming…I don’t know what I am going to do.   What ended up happening last night was that I slept fitfully and woke up pretty much every hour and then finally, just gave up and got up at 4.  And while I didn’t have any dreams as bad as Tuesday night’s, I did have another kidnapping dream.  That seems to be one of my new dream themes.

I have Art Therapy today…but I don’t really feel like talking about anything.  I just want to withdraw and close in on myself and melt away to nothingness.

Darkness Arrives

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Darkness Arrives

So…my mood had been doing really well for the past few weeks…Like I felt like a normal person again…Actually, better than normal…practically euphoric!  But I can totally feel it slipping. It started last night…I don’t quite know how to explain what happens when it starts to drop…but I can feel it settle on me…It sort of drifts down out of the air and drapes over me…profound sadness and despair.  I don’t know what brought it on yesterday, as a matter of fact, I had a great day yesterday! But then in the evening…I felt the mood shift.  I ignored it though…sometimes, I can sort of shake it off. But this morning, I feel like sobbing and just want to curl up in my life-doesn’t-matter ball and be left alone forever.

I did have another horrible dream last night….so I know I am a bit raw from that.  These dreams are just going to do me in.  I can handle the regular nightmares….even the ones where I wake up in “freeze” mode.  But dreams like I had last night…they are just so repugnant, I can’t take it.  I wake up feeling disgusting and dirty and just betrayed by my brain.  Definitely, not a good way to start the day.

I do have some positive activities already on my schedule for today…Yoga and then lunch with a friend.  Hopefully, these two things will counteract the mood spiral I am feeling.

Feelings and The Insurance Triage Nurse?

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Feelings

The Art Therapist observed that since lifting my child-me ban, my art has changed.  I had noticed that when I draw myself, I am not feeling that black rage and wanting to cross out the me that I drew.  Probably, this is all progress!

Today’s mandala is Gentle Kindness.  I just want to scoop up that sad girl and hug her.

She scares me a bit though…she has so much feeling in her…she is kind of like a grenade…and when her pin gets pulled, she’s gonna let all those feelings blow.  I don’t think I am ready for that yet.

Speaking of feelings, the AT asked me yesterday, in the midst of other conversation, if I really wanted a crash course on feelings.  I don’t think I really answered him…but I think it would be an interesting thing to try.  Sirena made a good point yesterday in my comments, “I think therapist’s sometimes miss a stage with some clients and assume they know how to name how they’re feeling and where in their body they are feeling it.”

In the beginning of therapy, the AT kept trying to have me draw feelings.  He would give me a piece of paper and tell me to draw a feeling…but it was hard to do…Sometimes, I don’t even know how feelings really feel.  How can I draw that?  Every time he brought up the feelings cards activity, I really balked and I think he eventually gave up on it.  I know I had given up on it as being a productive activity!

The Insurance Triage Nurse

I got an interesting phone call yesterday.  It was from a triage nurse from our health insurance company.  She said my name had been flagged in their system of people who need prior approval and she wanted to check in with me to make sure I was getting the services I needed.  I was a bit puzzled….the only prior approval I have had this year was for the extra sessions with the nutritionist.  But the nurse was talking about my mental health stuff…Am I seeing a psychotherapist? Did I find one I like? In network/out of network?  Am I having difficulty getting to my appointments? (I asked for clarification on that one and she said juggling work and appointments.)  I told her that I am in therapy that I am not working because of my depression and so I don’t have difficulty making it to my appointments.  I also told her I see the therapist and my psychiatric nurse practitioner and that I am satisfied with the services provided by both.

She caught the “am not working” part and asked if I was having financial difficulties and do I know what resources are available to me in that respect?  I told her that between my per diem hours and dh’s salary, we are getting by and that I don’t actually know what resources are available if I were to need them.  She said that I have a case manager social worker available for me and that maybe it would benefit me to talk with her.  I said sure….cuz more info can’t hurt, right?  So, at some point this week the social worker is going to call me.

And before I let her off the phone, I asked her to clarify how I got on her list…And she explained that they call people who have had inpatient treatment, prior approval or chronic conditions and when she was reviewing her lists of people, my name came up.  I asked her if she would be calling me again and she said no…that she would refer me to the case manager who would take it from there.

So…..My response to all of this is…hmmmm…What the heck was that about?  And what flagged me into her system?  The nutritionist and the “eating disorder” diagnoses?  The two times/week frequency with the AT?  Something from my Primary Physician’s billing?   And I am curious as to if the insurance company called the AT…They used to do that once in a while…but I don’t know if it is still standard practice.  Maybe I can get more info out of the social worker when she calls.

And lastly…there was another phenomenal sunset last night…just breathtaking!!

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Another Therapy Monday

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Another Therapy Monday

Woke up from a nightmare in the middle of the night completely frozen.  I had to re-orient myself and give myself permission to move.  It took me a long time to fall back asleep and I feel like when I did I was guarded and didn’t really let myself sleep deeply again.

I used to have the nightmares under control until I started Art Therapy.  Now, they are more or less a constant…Sometimes, like last night, worse than others.

Now, it’s another Monday.  What should be on the therapy docket for today?

Thursday, the Art Therapist threw me a curve ball.  He asked about my relationship with my parents.  This is not a topic we have delved into much and I was not prepared for it.  It would be helpful if he could give me a two-week heads up on tricky topics….Then I will be prepared.  But Thursday, I kind of froze and didn’t know what to say.  I stumbled a bit and didn’t say what I wanted to say.  And of course, the AT followed up with wanting to know about feelings related to my parents.   I think I have finally figured it out…he’s not going to let go of the whole feelings thing.

So what am I gonna do about it?  Feelings are complicated and I don’t do them very well.  What I need is a crash course in feelings….What they are, how to feel them, what they mean and how to name them.  That ought to be easy, right?

Anyway…at least today, I am marginally more prepared for further discussion about my parents.  And phenomenally unprepared for more discussion about feelings.

Happy Therapy to me!