January 29, 2010
So Much More Than A "Last-Minute" Carnival!
As it turned out, this is quite a large carnival, with almost 30 posts! We have a dozen posts in the Healing & Therapy category, alone. I'm impressed by that. I always like to see a lot of posts in this area because it gives me hope and inspiration that we survivors are all, indeed, healing. A great reminder. Thanks for your participation, everyone.
And huge kudos go out to Paul for organizing this so well. It's Paul's second time hosting the carnival, and he's a fantastic host. I also love Paul's description and expressed purpose of the carnival in his opening paragraph. He says, "The purpose of the Carnival is to be a place where important posts are shared with others who may not be frequent readers of an author's blog. I, myself, have realized that I cannot follow all the blogs I want to follow, so the monthly Carnival gives me a chance to see what else is out there. There are so many wonderful bloggers and you are all doing a wonderful service not only to yourselves, but to the cause of ending child abuse and recovering from child abuse." This is one of the great reasons why I founded and continue to organize this carnival and try my best to keep it running every month. Very well said, Paul!
Won't you please visit this month's carnival edition, click on the links, read the posts and leave supportive comments for our courageous participating bloggers? Also, I want to thank everyone who has responded thus far to my request for carnival hosts for 2010. I have several monthly slots filled in now, but could still use some host volunteers for the summer and fall months. Be thinking about this opportunity, won't you? Thanks, everyone! You and your continued support are always appreciated!
Oh, and one more thing. I got a few posts that came in after the deadline for today's edition. I want to assure you that these will be saved and passed along to our next host, Issue Knitting, who will organize February's edition on 2/19. So, see ya then!
January 26, 2010
Trauma Processing, Therapy & Counseling
I've been in some form of therapy or another now, on a somewhat regular basis, for almost 20 years. Now, wait. Stay with me. Some of you who are rather new to therapy may be ready to shriek, "Eek! I'm outta here! I don't want to be in therapy that long! Who wants to be in therapy forever?!" I want to tell you that I'm one of the many unfortunate survivors who floundered around in the mental health system with an inadequate diagnosis for years. I didn't find out how severe my dissociative disorder was until just three years ago.
I didn't even know I had PTSD until after we moved to Colorado, less than a dozen years ago. My first official diagnosis was bipolar and I was put on Prozac. I have to give my first psychiatrist credit: He actually apologized to me a few years later and reversed my diagnosis. He told me that, while I had depressive episodes, my depression was situational, not cyclical. I wouldn't find out until just a year ago that what looks like "mania" on some occasions is actually the m.o. of one of my "let's-get-it-done-yesterday" parts.
Currently, I'm working with a woman who has over 20 years of experience working with dissociative patients. She's the "only game in town:" I'd have to drive over an hour each way to see another dissociative expert T in my state. I'm lucky to have her. Overall, I'm making tremendous progress with her. I've had no dissociative fugues or huge dissociative switching incidents that have been disruptive for over a year. I'm learning how to let some of my parts with even the toughest exteriors feel safe enough to have feelings and show their pain. I've given new "jobs" and crafted contracts with parts who I used to call "punishers." Now, we can talk about what they are protecting and what they are truly concerned about, instead of jumping to the dysfunctional reaction of self-harm. Just in the last few months, My T's told me she's even starting to see some--dare I hope it, much less say it?--integration. Hooray!
Before my current T, I was with an expert in traumatic stress and we made great inroads on trauma processing and getting my PTSD under control. I learned very useful grounding techniques and was able to vastly decrease my amount of nightmares and flashbacks. He also helped me learn how to greatly reduce my hyper vigilance and automatic startle response reactions. Heck, I can even go to a restaurant now and not be concerned about exactly where the exit (the escape route) is. I can sit at a table in a chair that is not backed up against the wall.
So, as you can see, I am grateful for my progress. I feel like I "shouldn't" complain. But, with all this great therapy "stuff," all the techniques the last two therapists I've had have pulled out of their well-educated and experienced bags of tricks, I feel like I'm missing something. What I miss, what I crave is counseling.
Does anybody out there know what I mean or feel the same way? Let me tell you what I'm talking about in my own experience. I know that some therapists do, indeed, give counseling because I had one--out of the many I've seen--who actually counseled me once. It was over a dozen years ago, back in Illinois, when I worked with her. I was a little put off, at first, by how "new-agey" she was, but I was immediately impressed by how compassionate and how spiritual (without being religious) she was, and by how much she cared. She also had great therapy techniques and ideas. But, what really moved me was her caring. Because she cared about me so much, she was very successfully able to counsel me on things that effected my day-to-day life. When I went in to see her for a session, we not only talked about my childhood abuse and my dysfunctional ways of coping; we could talk about anything.
I was so impressed with her and felt that her skills, empathy and advice were so needed, I drove three hours each way to see her!
Since that time--while I've had successful therapy and trauma processing sessions that could probably be sited in clinical training or published in some researcher's book--I've had very little counseling. I have a husband who is an only child and has lost both of his parents to cancer. Yet, I have no counselor to talk to about it (or really anything about my relationship with my spouse). I have a son who screamed at the top of his lungs with "colic" for seven months as an infant and now struggles with sensory integration, dyslexia and ADHD symptoms and has "twice-gifted" status at a school that does not meet his needs. Yet, I have nobody to counsel me on how to be the best parent I can be and how to squeeze out that last drop of patience and unconditional love I want to provide for him.
I understand that, when Mom is huddled in the closet in the fetal position or running away in dissociative fugues, PTSD and dissociative disorder therapy has to be the first priority. But, can't I ask for more? I'd like to have some counseling in the area of relationships.
In addition to me, my husband, son and sister each have their own individual therapists. My husband and son and I have gone to family counseling together. But, I have received next to nothing that I have found helpful or useful when I have asked either of my last two therapists to counsel me on my relationships with my husband, sister or son. Shouldn't the T I currently see, for up to four-and-a-half hours some weeks, be able to give me some useful advice on my current relationships? Aren't human relationships really what this life is about? I don't think the goal of all my hard work and intense therapy has been so I can be happier alone, living like a hermit in a bubble somewhere. I think it's been so that I can live my life in-relationship-with-beloved-others in a more functional, healthy, loving way.
Why do I feel sometimes--during the last eight years--that the only therapeutic success I've made is for some clinical study, or done in some cold, sterile research lab? Why do I keep feeling like I'm coming up against some "all-or-nothing" type of strategy? Can't I experience a more balanced approach?
I'll probably tell you about my therapy appointment from last week that prompted this line of bloggy questioning. But, for now, I wanted to publish a more balanced post, instead of just a rant. In the meantime, feel free to share your own experience in comments. Tell me what you think.
January 21, 2010
To Write Love On Her Arms
January 12, 2010
Some 2010 Business
Our wonderful friend, Paul, at Mindparts is coming through for us to host the January edition of The Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. Hooray! The edition will be posted on Friday, 1/29 and submissions must be turned in by the deadline of Wednesday, 1/27. Click on that BC widget to the left there on my sidebar to go straight to the submission form.
It looks like I also have enough interest with hosts to cover monthly editions for about six or seven other months for 2010. I could still use some hosts for most of the summer and fall months, so be thinking about it won't you? Thanks!
Still sick here, but not nearly as bad. Thanks for the well wishes, all.
Before I forget, I want to conduct some business. We have GOT to get some hosts lined up for 2010 monthly editions of our Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse. At the present moment, I don't have anybody. Any interest out there? If you've participated by submitting blog posts to our carnival in the past, I'd really like to encourage you to host. It's really quite simple and I help you through it every step of the way.
If you think you could help us out with hosting, please leave a comment and let me know what month preference, if any, that you have. Thanks for considering, everyone. I know our blog carnival has become a very important mode of sharing, survivor solidarity, advocacy and awareness- raising. Let's keep it going strong for another year!
January 06, 2010
Nursing in the New Year
Then, I collapsed into a heap of icky sicky crud. I was worried for a while it might be bronchitis or a sinus infection, but I think it's just a virus. What I really think is that my body just decided to speak up: "You will rest...NOW!" So, that's what I'm doing. Things are pretty quiet on the therapy front, which is nice for a change. It feels good to focus on and take care of the body. But, I am getting weary of the sniffling and the hacking.
I hope all of you are staying well for the start of this New Year. Happy 2010.