Saturday, April 14, 2012

Unwelcome Visitor

I (or someone inside me) was really nasty to my husband this morning.  I mean early this morning, around 4:00 A.M.  I was so sleepy that I could barely keep my eyes open, and he was wanting to stay up and talk. He was having a bad day and was feeling down and just wanted some encouraging words.  He'd had a few drinks, and perhaps more importantly, I'd had none.  He stumbled a little as he came into the bedroom, and suddenly someone jumped up off the bed and growled loudly at him. I can't remember now what was said, but it was absolutely hissed at him.  I can hear the sounds in my head, but I can't make out the words.  It makes me very uncomfortable, the noises emanating from this creature who appeared all at once, without any warning.  I can see her gesturing wildly at him, and I can hear her spitting out words, but I can't control her at all. She is a part of me, of us, but she is a person all her own.  I am so ashamed of myself for letting her take over my mind and body, even if only for a few minutes.  She doesn't have my permission, she just comes out at random moments in time...and she leaves behind her a trail of hurt.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thoughts After Therapy

I was very angry before I went to therapy yesterday.  I mean, I was really pissed at my doctor.  Her office had said last month that they would call me to set up an appointment, and they never did.  Subsequently, I ran out of medications and then proceeded to lose my mind.  I really thought I was going to let her have it when I got there. I was scared she'd dump me as a patient, for I intended to cuss her out big time. My stress level was very high when I walked in the door...but things didn't go as I thought they would; someone sad took the place of someone angry when I sat down.  It felt like 15 minutes, but according to the clock I was at my psychiatrist's office for nearly 2 hours (30 minutes were spent in the waiting room, 15 minutes in the lab for blood work).  Can't remember all that we talked about, but that's not unusual.  I do know that I complained (without the use of swear words) about the fact that her receptionist had never called me after our last session to tell me my next appointment time, and since I have trouble calling people, I just kept waiting on her to call me and 2 weeks went by. So not only did I run out of meds, but I went quite crazy by the second week. When I finally got up the courage to call her office, I found out she was on vacation and the office would be closed for another week.  I had a major crisis (my mother was hospitalized and could've died) while she was on vacation and had no medication to help me, so she felt really bad that I'd had so much trouble. She was determined that I never be put in that situation again, so she gave me an emergency contact number for her. I am so grateful for that! In all my 20+ years of therapy, I've never had a doctor give me a 24 hour emergency number. She said I can call that number any time, any day, and they'd be able to contact her and/or refill my prescriptions. That is fantastic and I couldn't have dreamed of  anything better.

For some reason, I asked her again what my proper diagnosis was, and she told me-again-that she doesn't put labels on her patients.  She would only verify that I am experiencing frequent dissociative episodes.(Duh!)  At one point, however, she asked me if perhaps a different K had been taking care of me for the past few days; doesn't that indicate she knows about the other K's?  (She brought it up when I made a casual remark about the fact that I didn't recognize the clothes I was wearing, that it wasn't something I would normally wear.) Isn't that an indication that she's leaning toward a diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder? I'm feeling more hopeful now that I know she believes me. I asked her if I could ever get better, and she asked me if I was sure I wanted that.  Made me think.  On the one hand, it'd be nice to be more stable and on less medication, in other words, more normal.  On the other hand, I don't think K could handle the stress of our day-to-day life with only one of us in control of her brain and body.  We help each other, we keep an eye on K, you know?  Each of the K's has a specific job to do, a specific area of our life which they handle for her. K needs all of us. Dr. H thinks the other K's are for my own well-being and protection, and she doesn't seem to think that integration (the blending of all the different personalities of someone with DID into a single identity) is the best goal for me.  To be honest, I'm glad I don't have to integrate.  I am fond of a few of the K's and would miss them were they to be fused into my core personality (whomever that may be). Not to mention the fact that if, say, The Good Daughter goes away, then K won't remember everything she needs to know to take care of our mother.

 I'm blogging too much, or at least spending far too much time online.  My husband says I'm obsessed.  Big shocker there. And my shrink stressed that she really wants me to hand write a diary which I should bring with me to therapy every week. Of course, I forgot to take it with me yesterday.  I did start a diary, but I find it difficult to remember to write in it everyday, and a lot of days I just don't have the mental energy to do it. Plus, while there are some diary entries which are obviously written by someone else (I can tell by the handwriting, the grammar, and the language) some of the K's refuse to participate in that activity.  I think maybe there are parts of me who are still hiding from the outside world, or even from myself.  Apparently, this blog is worthless to my shrink, and that just sucks.  "Blog less," she said.  But this blog is my outlet for my madness!  Some of the other me's blog sometimes, and I think that's important.  I can't talk to anyone in real life (other than my psych) about my mental issues. My husband has never fully recovered from the shock of seeing me become a different person right in front of him.  I feel like he looks at me differently now.  That's why I worked so hard to hide it after we got married.  I thought I was doing better at that time.  I really did.  I seemed happy and safe and stable and I kept the other K's hidden from him for 2 years.  But it was not meant to be.  I have crashed and burned, repeatedly now, since January.  Yet I still asked my shrink yesterday if I could cut down on some of my medications; instead, she increased my dose of one of them. She explained that each pill has a different function and that if I were to stop taking the meds, I'd be bombarded with all the hallucinations and voices that I now experience to a "lesser" degree, plus I'd be likely to fall into a dangerous depression.  I don't think I'd want it to be any worse than it is.  I can get used to the dissociation, the depersonalization, the derealization for the most part, now that I understand what is happening during those times.  I guess I must just accept the fact that I'm always going to see and hear things that are not real, I'm always going to have anxiety attacks, and I'm always going to be prone to depression.  The other issues I still need a lot of help with. The paranoia.  The self-harm.  The suicidal ideation.  The self-loathing.  The fear of people.  So I guess there are plenty of things for us to work on in therapy, even without a specific diagnosis.  It still frustrates me though.  If someone asks what my disability is, I don't know what to say. (How about "Pick one"? LOL)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thinking in Black and White

I have a tendency to view things as "all or nothing".  Everything in my life tends to be good or bad, up or down, beautiful or ugly.  I love you or I hate you. Throughout our lives, we often inspire undue stress and anxiety by viewing our existence with a "dualistic mind". This is called black and white thinking, or splitting, and it causes a lot of unnecessary problems in life. Black and white thinking is sometimes referred to as absolutist or dichotomous thinking.  When we fall victim to black and white thinking, we have mistakenly reduced an entire spectrum of possibilities down to the two most extreme options, each the polar opposite of the other. Often, those categories are of our own creation, and we are attempting to force the world to conform to our preconceptions about what it should look like. It's common in those who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder and can lead to depression, anxiety and even anger.

Everything is seen as either positive or negative-there is no in between. This type of thinking colors all of our experiences and pressures us to live in the irrational realm of extremes. We do this because it gives us a (false) sense of security and control over life's uncertainties. Black or white, no gray area. I feel uncomfortable with ambiguity, shades of grey and subtle distinctions. Unfortunately, a great deal of life's situations are in the gray area, and since I can't see things in that light, I set myself up for a great many disappointments and failures.

Before I got married, my relationships were all extremely turbulent.  I tended to idealize a person, put them up on a pedestal, and then of course they invariably made a mistake and tumbled down from that pedestal and then I devalued them.  I could be madly in love one day, and despise that same person the next day.  When we view the world in strict and over-simplistic terms, we are less likely to compromise and cooperate with others to meet common interests.  This is how my social life was from the very beginning of my dating career, and it continued in that manner until I got married just 2 years ago.  I'm still holding my breath, worried that my skewed view of things will have a negative impact on my marriage.  So far, so good. I believe everything needs to be a specific way, and I'm not willing to deviate from this narrow view of the world.  This makes us stubborn and frustrating to live with.  My husband is very, very understanding and patient with me.  I've explained to him that sometimes things come out of my mouth that are harsh and I don't mean them (especially when I see something as black and he sees it as white),  that I blurt things out without thinking first, and that I can be an evil bitch. One of the K's tells lies and tries to hurt people just for the hell of it. That K thinks in black terms only. On the flip side, I have me's who are positive and always look for the bright side of things.  But there is no one in the gray area. I don't know how to think like that.

I see things in absolutes. Black and white thinking causes me to choose either A or B, without ever considering that the correct choice could be C.  When we only see things in black and white, we miss out on alternative ways of viewing the world. These other perspectives may be just as good if not better than our current perspective.  At the end of the day, black and white thinking makes us less adaptive to our surroundings. This hinders our growth as individuals. It’s also what keeps us stuck in old habits and thought patterns.  Believe me, I have tons of experience in this department.  

I'm an open-minded person on so many levels, yet I cannot bring myself to deviate from the way I believe things are supposed to be in my life. Some things must be a certain way, and I find it impossible to be flexible when it comes to those things.  I can't find a happy medium anywhere.  Things are seen as great or terrible. I lost a job once, and to me that meant I was going to forever be unemployed.  If I gain 3 pounds, then I'm on my way to being obese and no dieting will prevent it. I'm either a success or a failure, and this is only emphasized by my perfectionist nature. I simply cannot see that the answer could be something in between yes or no.  If I'm going to be 5 minutes late for a movie, I won't go at all.  If someone says something hurtful to me, then that person will forever be associated with that negative thing in my mind, even if they never again hurt my feelings.  I can forgive a person, but I can never forget, and they will always fall into the category of either good or bad.  This, of course, is ridiculous, for no one can be all good or all bad; human beings are both good and bad, at different times, depending upon the situation.  

I can write these things down, and it all makes sense to me, but at the same time I can not bring myself to think like that, even though it is perfectly logical.  To me there is no viewpoint outside of black or white. Rising above our dualistic mind means learning to identify our cognitive positions as rational or irrational, as balanced or imbalanced. We need to learn to be reflective rather than reactive. If we are reflective during life's difficult times, and we can use this new way of thinking, we are less apt to react negatively, and we decrease the probability of wandering off into extreme thinking, which can cause more distress.  For many, being reflective instead of reactive in these situations will feel like a leap of faith at first. But it means learning how to nurture the flexibility of our ego, that maybe we don't have the answers to everything, and that life is not so black and white.  Ask yourself, "Am I looking for too much certainty in a world full of uncertainty?"  If you are like me, then the answer is a resounding yes. Regardless of how much I rationalize and try to open up my mind to new possibilities, it just never comes to pass.  I'm now and forever a black and white kind of girl, and that's a shame. I'm missing out on a lot of things in life because of this, but I've always been this way and as far as I can tell, I'm doomed to be this way forever. Forever. I guess just by saying that, I'm proving my point. A regular person would say "sometimes", whereas I say forever (or never). If only I could open my mind up to new ways of seeing things...I'd like to find out how it feels to be in the gray area for a change. I think I'd be a lot happier.