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Monday, December 19, 2016

Starting Over


Therapist tells me the regression I perceive is exaggerated. He also said if his life was close to mine in terms of stress - physical, mental, and emotional, he would be in the hospital. I don't believe him on either count.

There are times when I cannot understand why the people who have experienced life with me as a part of it for the past 10 years are still doing that. Therapist says this is because my self-esteem has taken a large hit as PTSD symptoms have increased in intensity and duration.

The sudden, overwhelming depression continues to come at least once daily. I know what it is now. I know what to expect. I'm taking steps to manage it when I'm able to catch my breath. Therapist says this is happening because I need to escape.

I have been terrified to touch people. The thought of it has overwhelmed me to the point that I've been known to run away suddenly just because I don't think I can manage hugging or not hugging-- either seems scary. Therapist says I've not had healthy, non-sexual touch as I have needed it, probably for more than a year.

I operate, socially, at a level of paranoia I haven't seen for many, many years. I want to do something with someone, but I can't ask because they might say no. I want to visit with someone, but I can't go (or if I do go, I can't stay) because I might be unwanted or intruding. I want to call someone, but I don't because they might not want to talk to me. In short, I am undermining my ability to interact with anyone. Therapist says when I have stress at the level I've experienced for more than eight months, it can be impossible to navigate boundaries or understand social nuances which creates social paranoia.

Darrin and I have been talking past one another for almost two months now. We love each other, but we don't always get along. Sometimes one of us snaps at the other for no reason. Therapist reminds me that I've always said people need time away from each other. Darrin and I need time away. We're spending too much time in the same place, doing the same things.

There's more. So much more. But these are the things Therapist asked me to work on:
1. I am to create more positive scenarios about why the people who love me are still here. And I'm supposed to ask them to tell me why. That's not comfortable at all.

2. I am to take steps to seek out sunshine and exercise. And take more vitamin D (my idea). And when the depression hits, as soon as I am able, I'm supposed to find a person to talk to, either real or online. I'm supposed to ask for reassurance. Again, uncomfortable.

3. I am to visualize myself in physical contact with another person, preferably that contact should last longer than 30 seconds. It can be something as simple as sitting next to the person and allowing our arms to touch. Therapist would prefer that I have an arm around me or a real hug or a hand to hold. I am not comfortable with this. Surprise!

4. I am to make appointments to be with people I love. I am to spend time with them. We can do some sort of activity or we can sit and stare at the wall together. I am to pretend that they like being with me. I am to tell myself how glad they are that I want to be with them. I am to understand the social boundaries are not put in place to push me away. I am to put effort into understanding social norms and nuances and function within those norms. This is beyond uncomfortable. It feels impossible.

5. Darrin and I are to have one scheduled evening just for us. It doesn't have to be long, but it does have to be one-on-one. And then we are to schedule time, weekly, alone. With no one else. Not working. Doing something we enjoy. Which means I have to figure out what I enjoy. This feels beyond impossible.

Therapist told me, once again, he's not going anywhere. He said, again, he loves working with me. He suggested I make a follow-up appointment, but then said he'll allow me to choose when that will be. Then he said, "Sam, given your background and your current circumstances and the physical health problems you've experienced in the past five years, there is no reason for you to be sitting in front of me, well-adjusted and coping. Any other of my clients would be drinking constantly or hospitalized. You're doing better than fine. I honestly don't know where you find the strength to do what you're doing without breaking."

Except I do break. All the time. And then I pull myself together. Nothing else makes sense. I don't like it when things don't make sense. And even though I hate everything Therapist has assigned, I'll do it. Because I think I trust him. And I desperately want to feel better.

So if you're in my life (and Tolkien Boy has already had a taste of this), expect me to contact you. If you live near me, I'll be asking for a real hug. And I might sit next to you. And our arms might touch. Just for a few minutes. And it will be okay. You won't die of contamination, and I won't implode. Therapist has promised this is so.

1 comment:

  1. I think Therapist's suggestions are wise counsel for all of us. I sure understand some of your discomfort though. Hugs!