Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Like Trying to See the Back of My Head

If you need to be shamed into running (slowly!), check out the Facebook Maggot Award someone just got. If you saw the pictures she sent me, you'd know - the girl is committed.

Aaaaannnnd another update. I have printed out your comments, highlighted parts (what? highlighting is ... necessary!), and been carrying them around to sneak a look at now and then.

I am constantly being surprised at the amount of stuff I don't know about myself. Quite humbling. So much of what you have written has made me feel like, have you been following me around? How do you KNOW this?? E.g., Blue's comment:
I felt paranoid for years that if people knew about my past, that it would mean all the horribleness I had inside me would actually be true. That I really was just an impostor, faking being awesome (and doing a poor job of it mostly) ... I thought that if my past were true, (ie: if I acknowledged it), I would be worthless and no one would want to be friends with me. I didn't want to be labeled as a "victim". I didn't want to hang out with victims and be in that "group". I didn't want it to become my identity.


Yes, yes, and yes.

When JB said "I guess it just shows how our perceptions of things so close to us are sometimes skewed," all I could think was, yep, skewed, right here! (And yes, Alexicographer, I too figured there would be at least one troll saying something mean, but I actually wasn't concerned about them; it's that I really believed that good people might tell me I'm full of it.) I have gotten some lovely support and very helpful tips privately too (thank you, B).

And Ewan's comment made me laugh out loud, which is always a good thing. When my sense of humor deserts me, all will truly be lost.

It shocks me how the mind can commandeer the body. I mean, I knew that sort of, but paying attention to the moments of panic/dissociation and then tracing back what just happened is, among worse things, fascinating. There is a guy at work I couldn't bear to talk to and would do anything to avoid, and I realized during a meeting that, well, he is very like the abusive guy - one of them, anyway (ugh - I'm sorry to be vague, but I'm learning that you all understand). So I went over this with my therapist and get some strategies for what to do in the next meeting. (This person was suddenly given a lot of power at work and is trying to gut some - actually, ALL - of the projects I've been working so hard on. Making more sense that this has all started coming to the surface over the past few months, eh?) (If you want a description of this person, go here.)

There continues to be some fallout for the exchange student, though her story is hers to tell; she is overall doing really well. She is, fortunately, a talker, so at least there aren't two of us walking around the house saying "Fine!" to anything my husband asks. (I have my husband read my posts - and your comments - to bring him up to date. It's not that I don't WANT to tell him.)

I have been trying to figure out how to help myself get some of this out in therapy. Just changing where I sit helped: I have one much weaker eye and if someone is to my right I feel vulnerable. Something that has been recommended to me by several people - therapist included - is some sort of "comfort object" (sounds a little sketchy, no?) to have at sessions and during stressful meetings, etc., but I have been racking my brain and can't come up with anything. If I could bring my cat I'd be set, but aside from that I'm stumped. What would you use? Maybe if I heard some possibilities I'd figure something out, because if there's one thing I've learned, it's that I can be blind to the obvious, and you're not.

15 comments:

yatima said...

I have a ring my father-in-law gave me. He and I had a very straightforwardly loving relationship, so it's a reminder that there are uncomplicatedly good things in my life.

I have started and deleted several comments along the lines of: thank you so much for talking about this. You are a hero of mine and if this is difficult for you, it makes me feel less ashamed that it is difficult for me too.

mary said...

I used to sometimes see the abuser's face. Just out of no where, the face pops up in my head. Someone suggested that I buy a ring or a bracelet or something like that... that can remind me to bring myself back to the present. I used the suggestion as an excuse to buy a ring. I don't even wear the ring often but just the fact that I acknowledged it seems to have done the trick. I hardly ever picture the face anymore.

beenthere said...

I'm trying to remember what made me more comfortable in therapy, and honestly I think it was just time passing. I am kind of an overachiever, as I expect you are too, and it was difficult to let go of the idea that I had to "do" therapy "right" in order to deserve being there. But I have also come to value that space as one in which I don't have to achieve or perform. Which I guess is just to say that it's ok if it takes you a long while to say all the things you think you should be saying there.

Deb Amlen said...

There are things called worry stones, which are very smooth and comforting to touch.

Another upside is that they are small and can be kept in your pocket, so if you want to comfort or bolster yourself, all you have to do is put your hand in your pocket and run your fingers over it. No one knows what you are doing.

There are even stones with healing words carved into them, like "Courage," which might help remind you that you are strong.

Here's a site with semiprecious stones that supposedly provide other healing benefits, but you can Google for the ones with words in them:

http://www.branchearth.com/worrystones.html

xoxo, Deb

HRCFS said...

http://www.zennr.com/red-sandalwood-small/

A fidget that even without buying into the attributes attached to it is good because it has been chosen over and over because it feels good and warm in your hands.

I wish you vulnerability so that you can start moving those experiences away from the ways that you define yourself.

Much love.

Becky said...

I rub my wedding ring. My husband is one of my strongest supporters and this is a very tangible reminder that he has my back and that I never have to go back to where I once was.

Anonymous said...

I wear a few medals. Not very religious in an organized sense, but they give me comfort.
gmg

Anonymous said...

Delurking just to add to these suggestions. My daughter has been having some serious anxiety and her therapist suggested making sure she had a similar totem to give her some comfort throughout her day. I bought her a small but sturdy silver necklace and I bought myself the matching bracelet, so she could think about being with me when she touched her necklace. (Sounds so narcissist, but she was having such issues with separation anxiety and would have panic attacks thinking about me being out of town for a night.) It's funny because I got it for her, but the bracelet has turned out to be so incredibly comforting to me, too. We do a lot of snuggling up and letting my bracelet store kisses in her necklace for her to take out through the day, and now no matter where I am, just looking at my bracelet grounds me into that place of love and peace. (Wow, that sounds so hippy, and in real life I am a little more neurotic Woody Allen without the comedy, but the point is I have found the comfort object to be very, well, comforting.)

TL

townmouse said...

Can you find a therapist who runs? sometimes side by side is so much better than face to face, and you'll be in your comfort zone. Or walk, maybe...

L. said...

When I think of comfort objects I think of soft toys and blankets and the like. I can't imagine you bringing in a teddy bear (and probably anything that felt too "young" might be counterproductive and induce feelings of vulnerability) but what about a soft knit, a scarf or pashmina, or something made by a relative or friend, or a piece of your husband's clothing?

In the opposite direction, maybe some sort of manipulable desk toy that you could use to work off nervous energy or distract your intellectual brain while you work on the emotional side of things?

This has to be so hard. Yet at the same time I'm glad for you because already you seem to be healing, in the sense of becoming more whole and integrated. I continue to wish you the very best and to admire and appreciate your decision to speak here. It's like therapy maggotry, pressing forward but by bit.

L. said...

Bit by bit, that is. Autocorrect!

lisa said...

I have worn for years now a small opal that I purchased while looking for a dress to wear to my father's funeral. I can fidget with it, but mostly it's just there....

Sarah said...

Hi--I'm sure I've never commented, but I've read on and off for years.
Another word for comfort object is traditional object. What's most important in choosing one is knowing who it is representing bid it's your husband, than your wedding ring may be a good one. If its your therapist, the object needs to arise out of your relationship with him. For instance, when I was in the throws of some very intense therapy, my therapist gave me one of those pens marketers send with your name on them. It grew out of one of our weekly interactions, and just knowing it was in my purse gave me immense comfort. I

Anonymous said...

Red sweaters (warm and comfy) and/or dangly earrings. For some reason those things are comforting. The earrings are especially weird for me, since I'm not a jewelry person, but feeling them against my neck kind of keeps me coming back to myself.

Rayne DeVivo said...

AA gives out coins/tokens that represent the amount of time sober, 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, etc. to 50 years. They are bigger and heavier than a quarter. I suppose you could order yourself one dating back to the start of therapy or other date of your choosing. They are very inexpensive and you can order successive dates so that you can upgrade your coin as time passes.