Mood Crash

I am depressed.  I hope this is exacerbation is short because I haven’t felt this depressed in a while.  I just want give up on everything and go home.  Trauma? I can just say I don’t have any. Eating disorder? I am sure it is fine (if you ignore this past weekend when I wasn’t feeling well.)  I don’t need the therapy and programming here, I can be fine without it.  I just want to go home where everything is normal.  I can try to keep myself together without relapsing.  I mean, I have to go home at some point? Right?

Last week, I told my therapist that I had high flight urges and she told me she was glad I hadn’t left.  But she doesn’t even know me….Why/how is she glad?

Ugh.  I just want to run away.

Did you know that I have stopped crying?  I just can’t let myself cry anymore.  This concerns me because I feel like I am moving backwards.  I didn’t shed a tear when I left all my friends at PHP.  I didn’t shed a tear when I said good-bye to Kyla or to my self-assigned adjunct therapist, Callie.  Nope. No tears anymore.  I am done with feeling.

I am so tired inside.  I just want to numb it all.

This weekend was hard too because I had a lot of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks.  And something I found very disturbing was that some of my intrusive thoughts were from other people’s stories.  I have heard some pretty awful stories of other people’s trauma here.  I mean, things that you just would never fathom would happen to people.  Can I be traumatized by other people’s stories?  And why now?  Why am I coming unglued now?

And I feel so much pressure from the IOP program right now.  We are supposed to find a job, get a volunteer position or take some sort of class within three weeks of starting IOP.  I have applied to three jobs and not heard back.  The volunteering that I would most like to do is human services (like hospice) but those programs require background checks and training and by the time I got through all that, I would be pretty much done here.  Classes?  I was told they could be as simple as classes at Michael’s….but they all cost money and require supplies that cost more money.  The best I have done is found some programming at some local libraries, like Knit Night kind of things…But that doesn’t help occupy my time during the days….And I feel this incredible pressure because now I have two weeks left and no leads.

And I can’t handle any of it anymore.  None.

This is not a good Monday.

Regretting Choosing From Fear and Friends and Knitting

Regretting Choosing From Fear

It was cold here yesterday. Super cold.  I had yoga scheduled and I could not wait to go because the yoga room is always toasty warm.  And since it was sunny, I knew the sun would be pouring in making it warmer…And I knew the floor would be warm because the room has radiant floor heating.  Since, I am always cold these days, I was excited to go to yoga. Of course, I wanted to go for all the usual reasons too…But I really wanted the warmth yesterday.

And yoga was deliciously warm and my Instructor was her usual supportive and kind self and I was actually pretty relaxed and still feeling pretty present (leftover from Thursday).   It was all good.

And then we got to the end of our session…And I made a choice based on fear and ended up feeling a bit disappointed.  It was time for our Savasanah and ever since the flashback, my Instructor lets me find whatever place/position I want to be in to do Savasanah. And I have been choosing to sit on the floor with my back against the wall.  Which I did yesterday.  But it was not what I wanted to do.  What I really wanted to do was to lay on the hardwood floor (not even on my mat) and feel the warmth coming from below it.  And I briefly considered it as I slid my hands across the smooth, warm wood as I made my way towards the wall.  But…I was afraid.  I was afraid to lay on my back and open myself up to the possibility to another flashback.  While my body hungered for the comforting warmth of the floor, my mind just couldn’t allow the possibility.  <sigh>  It wasn’t until later (like a few hours later) that I felt the disappointment…That I really wished I had just let myself follow my  instincts and relax on the floor.

Ah well…regrets are regrets.  I will have the opportunity to make a different choice another time.

Friends

I spent the afternoon at J’s house with her and her baby.  I enjoy J’s company, she is very sweet and it was nice to see her.  When I was driving there, I realized the last time I saw her was when I had the tachycardia at work and had to go via ambulance to the ER.

Of course, J wanted to know how I am doing.  And I didn’t know what to say. I sort of answered vaguely and broadly.  She asked if my symptoms were improving any…How do you say to someone, “Well…not really.  I am kind of doing it to myself since my symptoms are caused by my eating disorder, which I have been unable to curb.  Until I get the calorie restriction under control, I won’t see an improvement in my symptoms.”? It seems kind of heavy for general conversation.  Although, I am guessing J would be a safe person to actually share that with, I feel very self-conscious about all my psych stuff and chose not to share.

We just hung out and chatted and admired her baby.  I love J, as she likes to share her baby, every time I go, right after I take my shoes off, she asks, “Do you want to hold him?”  Of course, I always say, “Yes.”  So, I held him and walked him to sleep and then held him in my lap while he was sleeping.  We talked about cloth diapers and when her baby was awake again, I showed her how to diaper him with a cloth diaper and then we tested the soaker.

And we spent a long time sitting on the floor while baby climbed on us and over us and around us, while dribbling drool and occasionally gurping spit-up on us.  It was heavenly! (I love, love, love babies!)

Here is Mr. Cutie Pie in his soaker.  Of the three different sizes I ended up sewing for him, the largest fit the best. (Sorry the picture is blurry, cell phone camera+moving target does not lend itself to the best pictures!)

0212161608

I told his mom that I would happily make him some more covers and she invited me back to her house to make some there and then she could help me make them.  It sounds like a plan to me!

Knitting

Since I spent most of the day out of the house, I didn’t get a ton of knitting done, but I did get two and a half or so more stripes done on the blanket square.  I am not a super fast knitter to start and since I started back up again, I seem a little bit slower and my hands get tired pretty fast.  I imagine in a couple of weeks, that will improve…For now, it means the knitting is somewhat slow going. It feels like it will take me forever to get four squares done! That’s okay though…I am a process knitter, not a product knitter (it is the same with most other handcrafting I do) so I don’t mind the time spent.

DSCN1656

Yoga Poses and Nutritionist Homework and Art Therapy Homework and Pottery

DSCN1229

Yoga Poses

Yesterday was yoga.  I have to admit, I was anxious….And the whole time, I couldn’t settle my brain.  Well…maybe not the whole time, but I was easily distractible.  And when we hit the end for Savasana (which we did sitting) I was totally on edge.  But…I was sitting with the sun on me a little bit, and I just absorbed the feeling on the sun and its brightness through my closed eyes.  And the YI did the shortest Savasana ever…which was okay with me.

We started our session by talking.  She asked about my goals and I had printed out my blog from yesterday, so I handed it to her.  That way, she got the goals and the thinking process of how I arrived at the goals.  And then she talked about how certain poses, the ones that open up your chest and front can open up things inside your body, like trauma held in your body, feelings, etc.  She noted that last week we had done a lot of those poses and ended in a reclining Savasana which created that very open body posture.  So, while I had been thinking that yoga had nothing to do with the flashback…Maybe it did.  And you know what….that’s okay.  I will take it as feedback from my body that I need to apply myself more in therapy to express myself, because it looks like if I don’t, it will find a way out of me anyway. (And I would much rather have stuff come out on my terms rather than in flashback form.)

And speaking of feelings and stuff coming out…My YI made a point of telling me that whatever feelings that I want/need to express during yoga are okay, that she won’t be thrown by expression of feelings.

Nutritionist Homework

I have been making an effort with the things the nutritionist wanted me to work on.  I did have an afternoon snack 4/7 days this week.  I have been diversifying my food repertoire.  Initially it caused me a lot of anxiety…now it just causes me some anxiety.  I have been trying to bump up my calories some…That has been a lot harder.  At least when I see her this afternoon, I can say that I have been really trying and I won’t have to feel as ashamed.

Art Therapy Homework

Monday, the AT gave me a homework assignment to go with the dead-and-buried me picture. He wanted me to work on how I would get some nurturance and light into the darkness.  He gave an example of ventilation into mines, and how if a mine caves in the first thing they do is pump oxygen down to help the people.  So…what and how would I send nurturing down to my buried person?

I am working on the project, but it isn’t done today as it is in clay and the clay is still drying and then I have painting and gluing and such to do with it.

Pottery

And speaking of clay….I picked up my bowls last night.   I didn’t stay and do anymore work as there is only one session left and not enough time to really get a project going and finished.  I decided that three extra classes were enough and I will just take a break until the next session in January.  In January, I am going to work on honing my wheel skills.  I can’t wait!

Anyway…here are the bowls:

DSCN1226

DSCN1227DSCN1228

Yoga Goals

1209150539

Yoga Goals

 I started thinking about my yoga goals by trying to recall what prompted me to go to yoga in the first place. I checked my blog, but I started yoga before I really committed to the blog and I didn’t talk about yoga for quite a while.  But then I remembered that initially, I emailed her to ask her about yoga…And I looked and looked for it in my sent message and then trash and then everywhere else, but it is gone…So, I am left to my memory.

I started yoga in the beginning because I wanted a better relationship with my body. My view of my body is ultra-negative and I have a weird double experience of my body.  For the most part, I ignore it…It’s just an appendage attached to my head.  Yes, it functions and moves me and keeps me alive, but I have no emotional attachment to it, I drag it around like I would a backpack full of homework I don’t want to do…Obligated, irritated and not feeling.   Except…Except that I am also acutely aware of my body and its shortcomings, its ugliness and that the first thing people see is my body and then judge me accordingly.  I feel disgusting and embarrassed and I hate my body.

Just last week, I had a body judgment issue at work.  I was working with a new patient and she was trying to remember her regular rehab person’s name, so she started to describe her to me, “5’8, blonde hair, talks really fast, healthy.” Then the woman looked right at me and pointedly said, “Not fat.” <sigh> Yup….Thanks, lady…I really needed that.  Of course, I just grin and bear it, though I really wanted to counter that body size does not necessarily indicate healthiness.  And yes, I know that there are people who are tactless and direct…And with the population I have at work, they don’t always censor themselves so well. I’d like to say that I have developed a thick skin about it…but I haven’t.

So…back to yoga…I just thought it might help me feel more connected with my body.  I wasn’t even thinking about liking my body…Just more of integrating it as a part of me…Less like detached luggage…More like part of my whole person.  That was my initial yoga goal.

But…what I didn’t know is that yoga or at least yoga with my instructor is soo much more than that.  When we do poses, she doesn’t just say things to instruct me and guide me, she also says things that bolster me, like pointing out appreciation for our bodies because they allow us to do yoga and other things we want to do, or that our bodies are part of our “exquisiteness,” or that our body tells us things.  And she sees things differently, like when I lose my balance and step out of a yoga pose (which has been happening more and more lately), while my thinking initially was that I had failed, my YI always says, “Perfect.”  Perfect because I am pushing the edges and learning the boundaries of my balance.  Doesn’t her interpretation of it sound better?  And you know what, this is one that I have accepted. Stepping out of a pose is not failure, but discovery.  (See, I can learn to change my mindset!!)

And then my YI also bolsters my self-esteem, she is always glad to see me…It may seem silly, but someone who is always glad to see me…It makes me feel good.  And she peppers our session with positive things.  I am not sure how to describe it, but it is there and it is gentle yet persistent, which is kind of what I need….Like the water on the rock analogy.  At first, I really cringed internally every time she did it….Like how could she say that?  Can’t she see who I am and the ugliness on the inside and outside?  But…now…I don’t cringe.  I haven’t internalized it, but I can hear it.  I don’t shut it out.

And over the months that I have been working with my YI, I have really grown to respect and trust her.  Yoga is a safe place and my YI is a safe person.  (Which is why a flashback at yoga was especially surprising to me.)

So…Goals?  I don’t know…I am happy with the way it is going now and doing more of the same is fine with me.  I do still feel self-conscious about things in yoga, mostly body related.  You cannot imagine how I obsess about what I wear to yoga and I wear pretty much the same thing every week, yoga capris and a t-shirt, but I stress and obsess about it every time.  Feeling less self-conscious would be nice…but then that’s not really a yoga goal, but a Heidi-who-hates-herself goal.  Hmm…what if I don’t have any specific goals for yoga.  Maybe I just want to enjoy it.  Is that a goal?  To enjoy time in a safe place, learning to accept my body (and maybe someday to like it) and to practice that it is okay to be me?  Yes, I think that counts.

Yoga Goals:

  • To enjoy time in a safe and judgment free place
  • To learn to accept my body
    • Maybe even someday to like my body
  • To practice that it is okay to be me

Okay, I am ready for yoga this morning.  🙂

I am going to repost a picture from a mandala I drew during the summer.  This mandala was probably the first time I stopped cringing and started hearing my YI’s positive messages.  Although I rarely have titles for my mandalas, sometimes a title pops into my mind as I am drawing.  This one is called Radiance.

DSCN0156

Big Sigh Of Relief

DSCN1199.JPG

Big Sigh Of Relief

One thing that has been causing me anxiety about the flashback incident is that I didn’t tell my Yoga Instructor about it after it happened.  Whether or not I had the courage to say it right then is not necessarily important…but it did feel important that I let her know about it. But I dragged my feet about it.  I was worried that she would decide that I was too difficult to work with and so she would reject me.  (And I really need to figure out why trauma=fear of abandonment.)  I really like her and working with her and I didn’t want to do anything to put a strain on that relationship.

So, like I said, I dragged me feet about letting her know…But yesterday afternoon, I sent her an email and hoped that it was the right thing to do.  Here’s an excerpt:

I wanted to let you know about something that happened last time in yoga.  I have been kind of reluctant to write to you about it, but I think it is important that I let you know.

Part of my PTSD is that I have had flashbacks.  I have not had one in a really long time (years), but on Tuesday, when in Savasana, I had a flashback.  I didn’t say anything about at the time, as I was hoping it would not be a big deal (plus I didn’t know exactly what to say).  After it happened, I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling and ceiling fans and oriented myself back into the room and to the present.  And I thought I had pulled myself together…but on Wednesday, I kind of fell apart which led to the rest of the week being kind of a wreck.  I did get the support I needed, but it was long few days.

I am guessing it was the position of Savasana that threw me into a flashback.  I never used to be able to lay on my back at all, but thought I had resolved that a few years ago.  And I have been comfortable on my back in Savasana for every single yoga session until last Tuesday, and even Tuesday I was fine when I started.  Likely, work in therapy stirred up issues that led me to be more susceptible to having a flashback.  Plus, I didn’t catch the first signal, which was that I started to feel slightly queasy.

I continued on say I felt a bit nervous about doing that pose again and asked for any thoughts she had about it. And then…I waited

When I woke up this morning, I had the most reassuring  email response from her.  I was sooo relieved! And her obvious caring kind of makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Here’s an excerpt from her email:

I am so glad you wrote to tell me what happened in yoga. I appreciate your checking in. I’m sorry to hear you experienced a flashback and that it took a couple days to recover. I’m glad to hear that you knew to open your eyes and focus on seeing things in the present moment/place. 

Please know that I am a safe person to keep checking in with, that you can let me know (if you want to) in the moment if this happens again, and that I am comfortable with you expressing a whole range of emotions in class. I am here for you. 

And she followed that with thoughts on the yoga pose and saying that we can check in more about this on Wednesday (my next session).

So…clearly, she is not rejecting me.  As a matter of fact, it almost seems like she is embracing me!  She always takes me where I am at without judging me or expecting me to be someone I am not.  I feel so lucky to have found her!

My Achilles’ Heel

DSCN1169

My Achilles’ Heel

Tuesday afternoon, I had yoga and at the very end when we were in savasana, I had a flashback.  I immediately opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling fans and forced myself stay as much in the present as I could.  I pulled myself together and finished yoga, but I knew I was toast.

I had written yesterday’s blog ahead of time and I didn’t add anything about the flashback to it because I thought I could handle it…But handling it was a minute by minute struggle.  I spent an hour and a half first thing yesterday  morning painting and painting and painting trying to get out the soiled feeling that the flashback brought.

Not only did I feel dirty, I felt totally unglued. Totally out of control. Totally overwhelmed and I was indescribable emotional pain….Like, I was literally pacing because I hurt so bad and I couldn’t calm myself.

I kept telling myself that this was one of those times that it would be okay to call the AT to get more support….But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So, instead I tried convincing myself that there was nothing he could do anyway.  That didn’t work either, so I compromised and emailed him because I was just crawling out of my skin and I needed help.  The AT emailed me back pretty quickly and then followed-up with a call to me a little while later.  It helped to know that I am not on my own trying to manage something really hard.

For the most part, I got through the day by throwing myself into a cleaning frenzy which kept me distracted. By the time I finished cleaning, the numbness had set in and I wasn’t feeling anything.

Currently, I am pretty much shut down emotionally.  I also feel very fragile, like the slightest thing will cause me to just shatter.  Ummm…maybe I am actually shattered already…I kind of feel like I am floating fragments that just can’t come back together.

I can handle lots of things that my depression and PTSD throw at me…But flashbacks?  They are the absolute hardest thing for me.  I can not manage the feelings that they stir up and I hate that they can pop up anywhere, anytime. I. Hate. Them.

Anyway, here’s some of the painting from yesterday.

DSCN1149

DSCN1150

DSCN1148