I Want To Feel Safe

The thing about having a trauma history is that I get to have trauma dreams (some are just disturbing/upsetting dreams and some are outright nightmares) all the time.  There is never any rhyme or reason as to what dreams will be most upsetting.  Sometimes, the sexual danger is just implied and the dream has me wake-up in heart-pounding terror.  Sometimes, the sexual danger/violence is more overt and I wake up feeling disgusting and dirty, but not in terror.  And sometimes it flip-flops.  I don’t know how my brain decides what kind of dream it will be…but it doesn’t really matter.  Terrified or disgusting, it is not the way I want to feel when I wake up.

Yes…Last night, I  had one of those dreams.  I woke up feeling disgusting and used and super depressed.  I hate being tormented in my sleep.  And I don’t want to take that stupid nightmare medicine.  I hate medications.

Lately, I have having dreams where I am kidnapped and/or held against my will and raped.  And in my dreams, the raping is not always penile penetration…Nope, my nightmares are taking me into darker territory.  And I hate it.  I told the AT that I was having kidnapping/rape dreams and he got his super compassionate look and said something to the effect of, “I am sorry you are experiencing that.”  And I was annoyed.  I don’t want him to be sorry.  I don’t want him to care.  My response was a shrug of, “It doesn’t matter.”  (Of course, if it really didn’t matter, I wouldn’t have brought it up.)

I never have dreams that are literal re-enactments of my trauma. I don’t know if such dreams would be better or worse.

So, this morning when I woke up, I just wanted to be dead.  I didn’t want the feelings I was having after the dreams.  And I wanted to self-harm.  But I have the triple safety contracts…Which makes me feel trapped and without options.  I distracted myself by spending probably 15 minutes body checking over and over….Feeling for the bones on my hips and my ribs and my collar bones, taking comfort in the fact that they are more prominent.  And then when I finally dragged myself out of bed, I restricted what I ate.  (Which, as everyone keeps pointing out, is self-harm, but I don’t think it counts.)

It was an ugly start to my day and though my day has improved some, and at the encouragement of my PNP, I did eat more (but still restricted) I am still tearful and stressed and feel pretty disgusting, which would be almost tolerable, except that we have to go over to my mother-in-law’s for a barbecue this afternoon.

I am so sensitive about who I eat with and what I eat and my eating schedule…This meal at my MIL’s will be super painful.  I am taking my own food so I know it is gluten free/vegetarian and that it meets my meal exchanges for lunch.  And if she is put out by that, she can piss off.   But of course, I won’t tell her to piss off.  I will smile and be the perfect daughter-in-law and endure until it is time to go home.  Let me tell you, after 20+ years, I have the perfect-daughter-in-law act down to an art.  It sucks every bit of energy out of me, but it is how I keep myself safe and deflect the selfish narcissism of my MIL.

Ummmm….I have no idea where I am going with any of this.  I guess I just needed to do a brain-dump.  Anyway, I am tired and emotionally raw and now I have to go be social and perfect for a few hours.  I just don’t feel up to the task.





Easy Come, Easy Go

And then my mood drops like a rock.

Last night I had nightmares.  One of them jolted me awake and I tried to keep my eyes open so that I wouldn’t fall back asleep and slide into the same nightmare.  The nightmare was about trying to keep bad guys out of my house and trying to close the windows and lock them, but of course they wouldn’t close. And there was stuff about the bad guys and my dogs getting loose and all sorts of weird and scary things happening.(This is the one that really jolted me awake.)  Another nightmare involved hanging onto rocks that were absolutely vertical, but craggy and right above some really deep and murky water.  I was terrified of falling in the water and I was clinging to the rocks and couldn’t move.  The dream transitioned to me on top of the rocks on the sandy beach and I knocked over a guy’s motorcycle, which made him really mad and he chased me.  I ran into buildings and tried hiding and then ran into some place with piles of clothes and blankets on the floor. I was going to try to hide under them, but suddenly my dog was with me and I couldn’t get us both covered in time.  There was no resolution, the dream sort of ended with the menace of being found.

Another nightmare was much more scattered and included a part about me helping a woman with her babies.  I was washing them in a sink because she didn’t know how to.  I couldn’t get the water warm enough and it was spilling and sloshing over the edges of the sink.  The littler baby slid under the water and I didn’t notice right away, I pulled him up and he sputtered a bit, but was okay.  Then I was drying them off  and dressing them and handed the little one to his mom and while I did that the bigger baby pooped, but was diaperless because I hadn’t gotten to dressing him yet. And he was playing in his poop and just covered in it. So, I had to bathe him again, but the water still wouldn’t get warm enough.  At this point, I had a huge mess of water and poop and towels around the sink and on the floor.  I had to take the baby back to his mom, who at that point was somewhere else….Which meant I had to leave the mess and I knew I was going to get in big trouble for leaving the mess. I tried explaining (not sure to who) that I would be back to clean it up…But I was terrified of getting in trouble.

Lovely, eh?  And baby dreams….I haven’t had “save the baby” dreams (in this dream, educating their mom how to bathe them was saving them, as well as keeping the little baby from drowning) in a really long time. It was one of my constant nightmare themes for years.  What is going on in my brain?

When I woke up this morning, my thoughts went pretty much immediately to suicidal ideation, urges to self-harm and intense self-loathing and shame.  Looks like everything is back to normal in my world.

And this is why I never count on my good mood lasting.  Because it never does.

Today, I see the nutritionist.  After the weekend I just had, I would rather crawl under a rock than go see her.  And then in the afternoon, I see the AT.  I am not sure I am up to emotional upheaval today….Or I suppose, I already have the emotional upheaval, I just don’t want to deal with it or really deal with anything today.




Nights and Today


The past several nights have been rough.  I am not sleeping well.  I either wake up at about 2 and lay awake for an hour and a half or I just sleep fitfully, waking up over and over again, giving me totally disrupted sleep. Both ways, I wake up purely exhausted.  Of course, I know it is stress.

Last night, I did have an interesting dream.  I dreamed that ds was a baby.  Dh and ds and I were going to a Sunday service at the Unitarian Universalist meeting house.  We were late for the service, but were able to go in and find seats (on the floor, I don’t think there were any chairs.)  Eventually, ds started crying so I started nursing him.  Nursing him in my dream was nearly a tangible experience….It was so real feeling.  I woke up from that dream feeling content.  Breast feeding is something I loved and so dreaming about it brought back lots of warm fuzzy feelings.

Of course, the rest of my night was fitful sleep, followed by a too-early wake up at around 4.  The early morning wake up has been part of my not-sleeping-well pattern.  It is classic Heidi insomnia to wake up too early.


Today I have Art Therapy first thing in the morning and then I am expecting phone calls.  The admissions coordinator from The Facility is supposed to call me, as is my insurance case manager. Hopefully, they will have some news for me about insurance and an admission date.  Right now, I am just in a biding-my-time waiting game.

One Year Therapiversary

One Year Therapiversary

About fourteen months ago, I realized I was totally losing my shit.  My depression was winning, my anxiety was out-of-control (I was taking lorazepam daily to make it to work.) and honestly, I was hanging on by a thread…A thin, fragile and fraying thread.

I knew I was in trouble, and I decided I needed help.  Actually, I was pretty desperate to get help.  And so I started googling to find a local therapist.  And I wasn’t really finding anything inspiring. I ended up looking at a practice in the City and scrolling through the providers. And that’s when I found the bio for an Art Therapist.

Now…I had done years of talk therapy and it only got me so far.  Being a crafty, hands-on, creative kind of person, Art Therapy appealed to me.  I asked around about this Art Therapist, who was new to the area.  No one had heard of him.  But, I googled him and read his bios on various sites and looked at his picture and…Well, there was something about him and Art Therapy that appealed to me.

And soooo….after an initial meet and greet appointment where the AT passed muster with me and I with him…I began my journey into Art Therapy.  That was one long year ago.  And what a hell of a year it has been!  But you know what?  I am in a better place than I was a year ago.  With my hard work and the support and direction of the AT, I feel like I am finally on the right path.

One thing I have learned is that the work with the AT is a lot harder than I expected.  This is in part because Art Therapy is super hard. And also because I am letting the AT take me to places that I have never gone before. And it is just plain painful.

And yet, I feel like I can see a purpose to the pain…And I have felt something working with the AT that I had not felt in a very long time….Hope.  Now, I lose sight of that hope pretty frequently, but the undercurrent of, “Maybe this can get better” is still there…I think that me and the AT can get me back on my feet, moving in the right direction and ultimately meeting my goal of being a real person again.

It makes me think of a dream I had last summer. Here’s the summary of it I wrote in my blog on August 23:

I dreamed that I was a little girl and the AT was himself, like he is now.  I think I was wearing a bathing suit with a dress over it and the AT was dressed in maybe athletic clothes…It was a little confusing, I think he started off in work clothes, but then switched to casual athletic-y kind of clothes.  Anyway, we were outside and I wanted to show him a trail or a vista or something and we had to do a lot of climbing to get there. The hills we were climbing were super steep and overgrown with plush moss with grass spikes shooting out from it.  Under the moss, the ground was really wet, like squishy wet, and if you looked down at it, you could see standing water under the moss.  The AT was having an easy time climbing the hill, his legs were longer and he seemed more stable as he climbed.  I was having a really hard time climbing the hill and had to grab clumps of grass to pull myself up, so I was using all four limbs to climb.  Except…that the moss was sliding out from under my feet and the grass clumps were pulling out in my hands, so for the amount of effort I was putting in, I was not making much progress and at some points was actually sliding backwards.  However, I kept on going because I really wanted the Art Therapist to see our goal.

At some point, the trail was flatter, and the AT was on the trail and I was beside the trail going along a water ditch.  I was slowed down because I was trying to negotiate the ditch by straddling it or going on the narrow band of grass beside it…But then things evened out and it was less wet and more flat and grassy.

The Art Therapist asked me if I wanted a “___”  (I cannot remember the word, it didn’t make sense in terms of the item he offered me, but he used it a few times to describe it.) He had these clear plastic packets that were hand warmers.  He said his hands were cold and so he got out two and handed me one.  You had to squeeze it to make it work and as I squeezed it, I could see little white balls of what looked like styrofoam in the packet. Suddenly, there was a “pop” sound as I burst the internal capsule that caused the chemical reaction.  The pop really startled me.

Eventually, we were hill climbing again, and the hill was almost hands-and-knees steep (though the AT was able to pretty much stride up the hill).  I was again slipping and sliding grabbing grass clumps to get up the hill, but we finally reached the top.  And the hill’s apex was very sudden and severe as the ground just dropped away from the other side. And we stood there and looked….And the dream stopped, so I didn’t get to see what was on the other side of the hill.

When I look back at the dream now…it seems so symbolic of the relationship I have with the AT!  I think the dream really highlights the steady presence and support of the AT.  As I have been slipping and sliding and struggling, he has been right there with me, accompanying me and being there for me, even demonstrating genuine caring towards me.   I don’t think I could ask for much more.

So…I guess its Happy Therapiversary to me and the AT.  It will be interesting to see what this year brings!




I started off strong yesterday morning…But by noon, I could feel the mood fading.  By 1:00, I was miserable.  But I did not snap at anybody or have a meltdown. I just put on my game-face and plodded through my day.  However, I felt pretty dead inside.

I feel very thrown right now.  I know it is about that picture I drew (and the subsequent four pictures).  I know something has been stirred up…Only I can’t put my finger on it, so it is making me unsettled and panicky and sad and stressed….Oh wait…that sounds like a PTSD exacerbation. <sigh>  I really don’t need that right now!

Even my dreams are unsettled, sexual violence, abandonment, filth…Not exactly what I would call restful.

I feel like my shattered pieces are careening away from me and I am reaching and reaching to grab them and they are just beyond my fingertips and I can’t grasp them.

And you know what?  It is making me want to binge. I feel like sitting and eating and eating and eating until I explode…Until I can’t feel anything anymore…Until I confirm the fact that I am ugly and shameful and weak.

I won’t do it though.  It would pretty much destroy me to have such a flagrant failure of self-control.  Instead, I have reverted a bit to some of my old minimalist eating habits, like repeating foods during the day and eating less.  These things feel safe to me.  And I am in control.  And I need to control something right now.


BTW, I did re-do the leg cuffs on the soaker and I chain stitched a tie for it. Then I washed and lanolized it.  I will deliver it to SS’s house this morning.



This And That


This And That

I slept last night with no really bad dreams.  I had some weird dreams and a dream in which I was afraid of one of the characters in the dream because I had displeased him….But no nightmares or night terrors.

Today is going to be a low key day…I have pottery this evening, but until them, I pretty much plan on staying in my jammies and just doing stuff around the house…Oh…I will probably walk the dogs later, I guess I will have to doff my jammies for that and put on something appropriate for being seen in public…and for the chilly weather.  🙂

I finished my Hope Trap on Monday…I have so many things to take pictures of and blog about….That will give me something to do today.  I will get a bunch of pictures taken so I can blog about them in the near future.

Yesterday was okay, I had a rough start in the morning…But I decided that I would paint something and burn off some of my post-nightmare energy. I didn’t end up painting, but I did create this.


And I did end up feeling better after.

I saw my PNP yesterday too…We talked a lot about dissociation and about Art Therapy and a broad range of other things.  I did bring up the meds that she had mentioned at our last appointment.  I actually gave some real thought to starting a new med and I concluded that I was not going to start either of the meds.  Now…don’t get me wrong, I know that I always say “no” to her…But I actually had some sound logic to it this time.  The meds she wants me to try both have weight gain as a side effect.  It seemed like that side effect would totally contradict my efforts with the nutritionist to lose weight and get off my BP meds.  And my body-image is so negative already, I am not sure the benefits of the meds would outweigh the self-loathing and self-judgement that would occur if the meds made me gain weight.  There is another med that she has brought up several times for sleep that I have sort of been dismissing, but I got her to write the name  of it down yesterday, so I can look it up.

Taking care of myself seems like an awful lot of work….Meds, appointments, introspection, exercise, socializing, eating right…..I sure hope this all pays off in the end!




Rough Night


Rough Night

Last night was so bad in terms of nightmares, that I eventually just gave up on sleeping and got up, even though it was obscenely early.  And most frustrating of all, is that I have no idea what triggered such a bad night.  Yes, I had Art Therapy yesterday, but it was a “light” session and I didn’t feel at all pushed or challenged or like I was going to be thrown by the session.  I don’t think Art Therapy was the trigger….And honestly, my whole day was good.  <sigh> It’s like I can’t catch a break.

The first nightmare I had was the one that resulted in the most extreme reaction.  I was dreaming that I was in a car (I think I was driving) with Social Strawberries, Pixie and dh and I think ds. We were on a road trip somewhere and trying to decide if we needed to stop at a rest area and use the bathroom. Pixie assured us that she did not need to pee…But SS was unconvinced since it was a long time until the next rest area.  I said that I could used a stop (I didn’t urgently need to pee, but figured it would give a chance for Pixie to go.)  SS agreed that she could stop too.

Then, I was in a large public bathroom that was sort of like a locker room and it had a second room in it that was where the toilets were.  I was alone and standing on a ladder doing something (I have no idea what.)  The bathroom was dark…like almost pitch black kind of dark….Which gives me a vague idea that I was changing the light bulb…but I don’t remember…I could hear noises in the bathroom like there was someone there, and I kept looking but couldn’t see anyone/anything.  I called out, “Hello.” but no one answered.  And I kept doing whatever I was doing on the ladder.  I was getting more and more anxious because I kept hearing something, but could not see a anything because it was so dark.

Then, something happened in the dream…but I don’t remember what…and I was terrified and that’s when I woke up.  And I woke up in that paralytic panic, where I cannot move, and can only barely think, and I have to pull myself back into my body and slowly get my body to start to respond to me so that I can move and think and orient myself to when/where I am.

After I fell back asleep, the nightmares continued, but none of the others induced the paralytic panic.  I dreamed about kids vandalizing our home (when we lived in the apartment) and that they were relentless and terrifying.  And I dreamed I was fostering a baby, but people kept putting her to bed in weird places and I couldn’t find her and then she was outside with some people and they wanted to do some sort of surgery on her…And I was in a panic that I didn’t have the authority to consent to the surgery and that if they did the surgery, the baby would be taken away from me and I wouldn’t be able to adopt her.  The surgery they were going to do was on her genitals…And I was really upset about that…Nobody was going to mutilate my baby!  And then I had another dream….that there was an old actor and he was recruiting girls to be in movies and so that he could train them…except he was really recruiting them to sexually abuse them and/or rape them.  Only…he had slight dementia, so he had only a vague awareness of the fact that his behavior might not be acceptable.

Now, I just feel exhausted and raw and frustrated.  Why do I dream this stuff?  Sometimes, I wish my trauma-brain would just leave me alone!