Friday, January 25, 2013

Lucid Analysis – Trials in Therapy: All of it

I'm late posting but I posted!  

Some nights in therapy are just not fun.

I walked in and I was just drained. I’d been feeling a little better since last weekend but I talked to Therapist about it. How I’ve been sleeping excessively, drinking more than I feel I should be, binging and purging again… Of all of it, it was my bulimia that sparked her concerned face. She definitely wasn’t happy about that.

I’ve just felt empty. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a hyper-awareness to my own existence.

Therapist thinks sometimes my awareness of my connectivity issues is just more pronounced. I’ve been hanging out with more friends lately. And with the exception of one of my close friends, they’re all very paired off. And I’m very single. For the first time in years and years and years. Evil-Ex, Boring-Ex/GF, K/Twiggy/Riot, Friend/ShopGirl, Lady Friend, then finally Tech Boy… I haven’t been single in a long time. I’m lonely. I don’t feel ready to date yet, but I miss having that comfort and closeness. I’m hanging out with all these friends, but at times, like when they’re gone, it sort of compounds my loneliness. Everyone leaves with someone, everyone goes away with someone… not me. It makes me sad, but at other times I still feel a sense of relief.

She asked me if I feel any kind of competiveness or jealousy hanging out with more girls? No, not really. That’s not really how my jealousy works. I don’t feel a need to compete for attention amongst friends. She was worried that since xRoommate is my “best friend”, that I might be experiencing sadness with having these other friends of ours more closely involved, like it would take attention away from our friendship and they might take her away from me? But, they’ve always been friends, that’s not changing now that they’re also friends with me again. I just feel like I have more friends. I do feel a bit more distance from xRoommate… I mean, we don’t live together anymore, we’re not constantly in each other’s space… but we hang out every week, we talk all the time, I still have an internalized sense that we have a connection, even if it’s not SO STRONG as it was before. I know she cares about me. She is probably the only person in the world that has seen me crumpled up in a bleeding mess of my worst… and she wasn’t afraid, she didn’t leave, she didn’t run away. She was there for me. I definitely feel like if I really need something she’ll be there because she cares about me. And I would be for her too. I feel like our friendship is solid, no matter who else is around. < --------- Check it out. Healthy relationship!

She brought up what I might want to have in a relationship. I don’t even know. She brought up Tech Boy. Last time I had to tell him that I didn’t want to get back together with him. He didn’t take it super well, but things have been pretty good at work. I’m completely sure I made the right decision though. When I see him in person, when I talk to him, I miss him, and I want to drag him off somewhere… but when I think back on our relationship all the problems, all the badness, are just so glaring, and I can’t imagine that any of that will have changed. As soon as I remember those things, it’s right back to being done. Just done.

Therapist kind of fluxuates on whether this is a good quality or not. In the past she’s said this was good. When I’m done, I know it, and I don’t look back. Now though, she’s saying I should be aware that I do this…. Which trust me, I know. I can go up and down and up and down… idealize, devalue, idealize, devalue… but once I hit that point where I’ve been through too much, it’s just too much, and I can’t anymore. It’s like a guillotine blade dropping and I can’t come back from it anymore. Therapist worries that all relationships have problems, problems never really completely stop, new things always crop up, and she worries that this might be a little strong…. But that’s not where this happens. The everyday relationship issues aren’t really what get me though. My problems with him were always very justified, and usually after a pretty major event: the casino trip, hitting me, tripping my body image triggers, picking fights with me when I wasn’t in the mood for sex when he was drunk beyond drunk and I was in an incredibly uncomfortable place, not noticing me at all when I’m absolutely miserable because he’d rather leave me alone and get wasted…. Our emotional maturity levels are just vastly, vastly different.

And the way our relationship developed, the one thing that I was never able to fully develop with him, was trust. I’ve never felt I could trust him with my emotional world. I can’t trust him with my mental health. I just, don’t trust him to be there for me if I really need it, because time and time and time again, he wasn’t. Anytime I asked for help, he said he would be there, and then he wasn’t. And then when it was important stuff between us, he just wanted to avoid.

There was nothing functional about this.

I just don’t think I want to be with men right now. I’ve been very involved in political stuff lately, and especially with all my women’s rights and GLBTQ equality activism, men have just been making me ANGRY. Working with only men all day every day doesn’t really help either. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are funny, well meaning guys, but I just don’t have the patience for the bullshit lately. Everything gets under my skin.

We started talking about the Schema Therapy lists of emotional trauma: Mistrust/Abuse, Abandonment/Instability, Emotional Deprivation, Defectiveness/Shame, Social Isolation/Alienation.

We already know just how deep my Abandonment issues are and those are a clear problem that I continue to work on. I definitely have defectiveness/shame issues and all of that, but in terms of men, my problems definitely fall into the Mistrust/Abuse category.

It wasn’t so much anything in childhood (as far as I can remember). I feel like it definitely started in early adolescence for me.

We talked a lot about the abuse I’ve dealt with involving the men in my life, betrayal of friendships, friends/acquaintances wanting to use me for sex, my best friend The One and all he did to me, how he was the one person I trusted then, the one person that I was able to talk to about everything that was going on with me, he used me, cheated on me, would convince me to get back with him, tell me he loved me, use me for sex, split, come back, drag me on and on this way until it finally ended the way that it did. I’m sure the majority of my issues stem from that relationship, but they’ve only been compounded more and more from most of the other men in my life. I don’t need to mention all the atrocities that were the verbal, mental, emotional, and physical abuse that I dealt with dating Evil-Ex. If I was broken before, he shattered me for a while. It’s taken me a long time to pick the pieces of that up and put myself back together. Then there was Boring-Ex (fail), and especially Friend. Friend I really thought I had found someone that was caring and loving and was interested in my well-being… but he was only interested in it when it was convenient and when he really didn’t have to do anything. It’s just so much. Too much. And I have dated some good guys, but they were men I didn’t connect with at all in any real way.

I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to really develop a fully trusting relationship with a man. At this point in time I’m just not sure. It’s something I need to work on quite a lot.

Therapist asked if I have these issues with women. The answer to that is simple. No. I’ve never had these kind of issues with the women I’ve dated. I don’t feel the automatic suspicion of motives. I don’t have that sense of violation.  It’s funny too… because if you ask any of my close friends they’ll all tell you I should stop dating men. I have no idea where to meet women these days. I’m always at work or my meat head filled gym. Or with a group of paired off friends hanging out in my condo. I don’t even see where I could go right now. I just don’t know. I feel like I’ll just be single forever and it would be easier if I just accepted that. I don’t even feel adequate enough to be with anyone right now anyways.

My bulimia has become more of a problem lately. Well “problem”. Idk, I know it’s unhealthy, but it doesn’t bother me. It bothers Therapist though.

Bulimia itself isn’t so much the problem so much as it is the expression of the real underlying problem.

She asked me what’s been going on and what comes to mind when I think about. Have you ever had word association experiences? Someone says something and a word or feeling just flashes into your mind? For me, when I think about my own bulimia, the word that hits me is “Rejection”.  Well that and, “Control”. But last night it was mostly rejection.

Idk, I’m just lonely right now. I’m worried that if I don’t have everything together I won’t be good enough, maybe? It doesn’t even feel right to say that, because ultimately I like who I am as a person, especially with all the work I’ve done on myself. Therapist tells me that I have such a strong need for perfectionism in my Self and the things that I do that it makes me incredibly, exceptionally, extremely hard on myself. She says I’m one of the most capable, beautiful, accomplished women she knows, and yet, completely incapable of seeing it in myself. Which is funny because she does appreciate that I always appear to be modest and that I’m not self-involved? Well true, but it’s really just because I don’t see myself that way. Isn’t it nice how my psychological scars make me seem more personable? ::head desk::

I think I nearly made Therapist cry.  She seemed to feel so sad on my behalf. I have body image issues. We know this. Sometimes I think she forgets just how bad they are though. I’ve been extra self-conscious lately. Hanging out with a slightly larger group of friends I’ve been feel more exposed and aware of my body lately. I just feel disgusting. Therapist was surprised because sometimes I walk into therapy and I seem so confident and unperturbed…. Which is true, I do seem that way… I’m very good at not harping on it. I’m very good at hiding my insecurities. Even, apparently, to the women who knows pretty much all of them. Admittedly when I’m happier, and at a weight I’m comfortable with, I am /actually/ comfortable with my body, but when I’m not, I might as well just hide under a blanket until I wither away, I just don’t want anyone to look at me.

It doesn’t help that I work out in a construction zone half the day and am surrounded by men that aren’t exactly subtle with the eyeing, gawking, and head turning. Even my less observant male coworkers are starting to notice just how often this happens. It makes me really uncomfortable. People tell me I should take this as a compliment. Look. I get it. For me? When people stare at me, I become hyper aware of what I perceive as flaws. It doesn’t feel good. It’s not flattering. It’s distracting. 

Bleh, she tried to make the session end on a happier note. She honestly believes that when I’m ready I’ll definitely be able to connect with someone have a healthy relationship. I was exhausted and dissociating by the end so I wasn’t really in the mood to pretend to agree with her. She said a lot more pleasant, uplifting, positive things about me that made me feel slightly embarrassed. And I left. And now I’m tired.

I’m so excited for the weekend. I’m going to finish up my Neo-Victorian Boba Fett costume. And sleep. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Attachment, Attachment Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder

New Series! 

Attachment. What exactly is attachment? An attachment is merely a ‘tie’ to someone. Attachment is the line between two points, where the points are people and the line is a relationship.  It isn’t quite synonymous with love and affection even though they can go together. In fact healthy attachment is considered to be an important foundation  for all relationships.

Attachment Theory itself is primarily an evolutionary theory of behavior. Think about it like this: infants need to be attached to a caregiver for survival. Without the instinct to seek close proximity to a caregiver, or attachment figure, to protect them from a threat , odds of survival would be greatly diminished. Infants become attached to adults or caregiver figures who are sensitive and responsive in their interactions, and who also remain consistent as caregivers for a period of time significant enough to create an attachment. Consistency is such a basic core component in relationships that many people don’t give it much consideration. Without consistency, it’s difficult to develop the necessary instinctive trust that is necessary to form healthy attachments. Parental responses are what lead to developmental patterns of attachment which in turn lead to that internalized core concept which guide a person’s feelings, thoughts, and expectations in future relationships. Attachment is the deep connection established between a child and caregiver that profoundly affects a child's development and ability to express emotions and develop relationships.

Relationships are important. Especially in infancy and early childhood. They shape your foundations. They shape the foundations for your very relationship abilities.

The precise definition of “attachment disorder” is still being discussed. Generally speaking though, it’s agreed that such disorders only arise following early adverse care giving experiences. Where some disorders (like BPD) have a neurological/biological component along with an environmental once, attachment disorders seem to be primarily a disorder of environment. However, when coupled with the predisposition towards emotional volatility/instability it can quickly escalate. I mention this because while the idea of attachment disorders sound like the same thing as Borderline Personality Disorder they’re not the same thing. They can certainly influence one another, but one is not necessary for the other. You can have attachment disorders and not be Borderline. You can be Borderline without the negative causation that creates an attachment disorder. However you can also be predisposed to the neurological components that create a Borderline Personality Disorder and have those traits exacerbated, compounded, by the detrimental circumstances that poor care giving creates in attachment disorders.  

Attachment disorders are a childhood diagnosis that can affect a person into adulthood. They  can be a precursor to what may eventually become Borderline Personality Disorder, but this is NOT ALWAYS THE CASE. I say this because I see all too often that people automatically assume that one leads to the other, or that one is simply the children’s version of BPD. Frankly I think this is because people don’t want to take responsibility for their part in their children’s developmental issues. But that’s my own biased and unprofessional opinion. As informed as it may be.

So why do some children develop attachment disorders while others don’t?

“The answer has to do with the attachment process, which relies on the interaction of both parent and child.

Attachment disorders are the result of negative experiences in this early relationship. If young children feel repeatedly abandoned, isolated, powerless, or uncared for—for whatever reason—they will learn that they can’t depend on others and the world is a dangerous and frightening place.”[1]

As children their attachment style (or pattern) is under developed, improperly developed, or just not developed at all. Attachment style develops as a result of early childcare experience. These styles include: Secure, Anxious-Ambivalent, Anxious-Avoidant, All Organized, and Disorganized. Attachment styles begin in infancy and childhood and develop into adult attachment styles. An attachment style is not necessarily a disorder though because while they may be problematic, they might not require clinical treatment to heal, just extra care.

In any event, we’ll get to those tomorrow… Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Never give up

It's not whether you win or lose, it's that you keep on trying. 


Ever feel like things have been going too well for too long?

I don’t know what’s wrong with me right now. I can’t really identify any of my usual triggers having been tripped (well at least not to the degree that I should be feeling like this). And yet, I see myself spiraling down into something that looks like depression but doesn’t feel like it. How do you describe being sad, without the feeling of sadness? I don’t know if my brain wants to be depressed but my meds are suppressing the mood aspect of it or something else entirely is going on, but I feel myself relapsing.

I’ve been sleeping excessively lately. I mean, EXCESSIVELY. Come home from work or the gym, take a 4 hour nap, eat, shower, go back to bed. Pulling myself out of bed is more difficult than I can ever remember it being. Yesterday I just stayed in bed for hours after I woke up. I couldn’t bear the thought of bringing myself to my feet. The real world exists outside of my blankets and underneath them is the only place I can find safe shelter. I’ve been drinking way too much lately. I don’t even want to be but I find myself needing to get out of my own head. Then I let my desire for comfort run away with me too and I reach for the most comforting thing I can find: food. I ignore all of the  hard work and careful tracking I’ve been doing to maintain myself and binge and binge and binge. Which of course is followed by the guilt and the need to purge. It never feels like enough though. I feel better but I still know that I did something wrong. My bulimia has been creeping back a bit ever since the x-mas holiday more and more. I just, want it to stop. The only thing I haven’t done is cut. But if I’m honest even those thoughts have become more intrusive lately. I haven’t acted upon them, but they’re more prominent than they’ve been in a long while.

And I don’t know why. I was doing so well. So well. Now I just feel like I’m stepping into quicksand. Nothing can keep my interest. My motivation to engage in my hobbies is dwindling. Hell, my motivation to move at all is a struggle. I barely leave my bedroom once I finally get home.

It sounds like depression to me, but all I feel is blank. Depression without the sadness.

With the exception of my drinking (which I know I need to stop completely) I’ve been doing everything right. My meds are completely on track. I’ve been eating well. Exercising. Having good times hanging out with my friends….

There have been some small triggers but this amount of response seems extra ridiculously out of proportion which makes me think there’s more. There just doesn’t seem to be a point to anything anymore. It’s all just getting to the next day, then getting to the day after that, but for what? To get to the next day after that one? And on top of it I’m lonely.

I want the comfort of being with someone but I don’t want to actually be with anyone. I’m not ready to be with someone, but I miss having someone close.

There is actually a reason I bring this up. The reason isn’t pity or sympathy either.

Relapsing happens. It’s important to understand this. You can be doing everything right and sometimes things still don’t work out the way you would hope. I know that statement makes it all sound futile and pointless to try, which brings me to my second point. Relapses are temporary. They end. Things can get back on track, and they get better again.

90% content with occasional 10% relapsing into not-so-good is still worlds better than the 95% misery and 5% bubbling over the top with ecstatic impulses that I’ve had for most of my life.

Relapses happen, but that doesn’t mean it’s all for nothing. It just means we’re human and no human has it all good all the time. It’s important to recognize when these happen so we can figure out how to prepare and pull ourselves out. It’s important to remind ourselves that things get better because right now, in the moment, it feels like this feeling will last forever. Even stars and mountains don’t last forever though. Our moods and emotions are even more temporary. It’s okay to relapse, as long as we don’t forget that we still need to be mindful of what is happening within us and be mindful of how we act out around us.

There’s also a bit of please bear with me on this one in here too. I have a ton of new topics and interesting information to share with you in the New Year, my inspiration hasn’t dried up yet… I’m just moving a little slow at this moment and it may affect my pace. I will keep moving forward though. Even it's a bit slower at times. 

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