August 18, 2010
Dissociation: Questioning Reality
What is happening with me is that I'm swimming in the deep, dark hole of dissociation. I'm trying to figure out just what it is in my anguished memory that has me reeling every August and basically makes my life from August through the holidays almost a complete wash.
The memory iceberg I've started to chip away at with my therapist is extremely complicated. It's going to take a lot of work. And the fear of the feelings that this chipping away activity will reveal, naturally for me, leads to a lot of dissociation. Luckily--at the moment, anyway--I'm able to observe this dissociation, rather than getting suicidal or running away in dissociative fugues. Both of these less attractive alternatives I have experienced in the Fall many, many times.
Lost In/Out Of Time by LuvLisa on Polyvore.com
The other day, for example, I was experiencing a great amount of derealization after my therapy session. This particular time, it was not a particularly unpleasant experience, but it is always strange and bizarre. I was fixing dinner and realizing that I was not quite sure who it was who lived in this house where I found myself in the kitchen. I was waiting for some stranger to walk through the door and ask what the hell I was doing in their house. But, as I looked around, I noticed it was a nice house and I was glad to be there. I kept the panic that can often arise at these moments at bay by reminding myself that my husband was the one who would actually be walking through the door--home from work--at any moment. Fortunately, I was not experiencing depersonalization at the same time; the panic would have been harder to suppress otherwise.
I don't know if anyone I meet will ever fully understand the concept of dissociation, if I, myself will ever fully understand it, or if any "expert" in the field will ever sufficiently explain it to me. But, let me bring something to your attention that you may be able to relate to.
Have you had a chance yet to see the movie, Inception? In the movie, the characters are forced to question their reality again and again. I think dissociation is very much like that. Just imagine in addition, however, that while you are questioning your reality, you are also questioning who the hell you are.
August 09, 2010
Set-Back Subsiding? An Update
It's ironic because I was just talking to my T about getting back to weekly therapy appointments so that we can work on the "Annual Fall Freak-out" issues. I was hoping--with a lot of work--that I'd get by relatively unscathed this year, starting when the kids go back to school. This dentist freak-out incident doesn't leave me feeling too confident about that anymore.
But, back to what happened at the dentist's office. The long and short of the matter is that this dentist started in on a procedure, but didn't warn me of what he was going to do. This was after getting up my nerve again to get into his office after about three years. We've been trying to figure out what was causing so much pain for me. I was feeling like a hypochondriac while we were trying to solve this dental mystery. I knew that I had cracks in my teeth (from clenching them) and I've been wearing a night guard for three years to help with that. But, I didn't know what was causing such extreme pain in this one location.
Well, come to find out, I have a deep crack in one of my teeth that goes completely across the entire tooth. We don't know for sure how deep it is. The dentist decided to fill this tooth, even though this particular tooth has never had a cavity. Instead of telling me this, he just goes in and starts causing pain in my gums.
I was like, "Uh, hello?! What is it exactly that you are doing right now?" He basically laughs off my question. He didn't throw is head back with a belly laugh, but he kinda scoffed and said something like, "Oh, that couldn't possibly have hurt much!" I wanted to slap the uncaring bastard across the face! He added, "I was just giving you a local anesthetic so that this shot of Novocain I'm about to give you won't hurt as much."
I said, "Listen! Not only do I have extreme dental fear and childhood trauma, I also have dental trauma. I have PTSD and a dissociative disorder. If you tell me what you are going to do before you do it, that will help a lot."
I should be proud of myself that I was assertive like that (although I was pissed that it became necessary for me to repeat my trauma story for like the millionth time with this thoughtless person who forgets and doesn't care, when I told my story and made my requirements abundantly clear before I ever allowed these people to touch me three years ago!) But, you know what? It was too late. The next thing I knew I was in a dissociative stupor. It was like I had fallen down a deep, black hole and I couldn't crawl back out.
It was a miracle I got myself back home. My son noticed how tranced out I was and asked, "Wow, Mom! What did they give you at the dentist's office? Some heavy drugs or something?" I said, "No. I'm just extremely dissociated." Then, I just crawled into bed and vegged out.
I want to tell this jerkoid dentist that he owes me at least three days of my damn life back!
I don't know what I'm going to do now. He says I need to put a crown over that cracked tooth or I could have an abscess or have to have a root canal...or I don't know what else he was rambling on about in a very put-fear-into-the-patient's-soul, very poor bedside manner sort of way. By then, I was already too far gone dissociatively speaking. I was basically a zombie by that time. All I really remember is repeating in my head over and over, "Just get the hell out of here and then you're never coming back!"
The real pisser about this whole situation is that this is the second dentist I've had trouble with in the last six years and both of them were specifically recommended to me by people in the field as dentists who had special training for trauma survivors and folks with extreme dental fear. I'd like to know how the sadistic jerks who don't have the appropriate training act and treat their patients! No. Never mind. I don't want to know.
August 07, 2010
Slam! A Set-Back
I got very traumatized at the dentist last week. It makes me so mad! This dentist was specifically recommended to me as someone who worked well with trauma survivors and patients with extreme dental fear. And I've been so assertive, stating exactly what I would need in order to feel safe enough to get my dental work done there.
This time, the dental assistant is very nice, compassionate and accommodating. I talk a bit about the dental assistant witch I had to endure at my last dentist's office in this post here. But, this new woman is helpful. She even found me some sunglasses to wear during the procedures so that the light in my eyes doesn't trigger me so much. The dentist himself, on the other hand, just doesn't care.
Ah, shit! I feel very dissociated writing this post (the last few days has been the most dissociated I've been after a trigger in about two years). I guess I'll have to come back and write the rest of this later.