Friday, May 11, 2012

Alone With Our Thoughts

I've only had one meal and 2 hours' sleep in the past two days.  Husband's out of town and I'm feeling alone and vulnerable yet I'm oddly hyper and my brain is going a million miles an hour. I've been all...switchy.  It feels like my mind is a slot machine and life pulls the lever and then whatever comes up from the spin is who I will be, but only until the next spin. I keep coming in and out of time, at least the "here and now" kind of time.  I guess this is how it was for me before I got married.  Just me, alone with the voices, fighting to keep my voice heard over everyone else, but then at the same time I'm wondering if it's my voice that's supposed to be doing the talking anyway, because I have other, different voices talking too, and they somehow all feel like me, even though they don't all sound like me.  Even though my brain is crowded,  I feel so alone.  I am...incomplete.  Like a chunk of me is missing.  My husband is my strength and support and without him I feel weak and uncovered, like I'm a target or something.  It feels like all the world's problems are chasing me and I can't run fast enough to get away.  I'm sprinting through time, and I want very badly to pause for a moment, just a moment, and relax and notice all the little things that I'd normally miss as I'm going by so fast.  My husband helps me slow things down.  He helps me organize my time.  He keeps me on my toes, and on the ball with my medications and doctor's visits and the like.  Husband helps me get through the day, everyday, even when he doesn't know he's helping me.  A simple text from him can transform my mood, and it very often does.  Sometimes, after he leaves for work, a dark cloud will descend upon me and threaten to ruin my whole day.  But a message from him is like the sun bursting through the clouds.  He is my light at the end of every day's tunnel.  I don't know what I'd do without him and his support. 

It seems odd to me now that I was able to live my life all these years without any support.  I mean, no one knew about my dissociative disorder.  People thought I was a strange girl, of that you can be certain!  But no one ever guessed how fractured my mind really is.  Coming out to my husband was difficult to say the least, and not just for me.  He was overwhelmed at first, and shocked that I could hide such a secret from him for all the years we've known each other.  But we didn't live together then, so he never saw the sudden, dramatic transformations which sometimes occur.  He just thought I was moody.  Yes, yes I am. Quite. When I finally did come out and tell him, it was Switch Kellie who did the explaining.  I'm not sure, but perhaps that was the reason he was so freaked out; to his knowledge, he'd never met Switch Kellie.  In truth, he had met her, in fact she was the one who had handled all the wedding planning and she came every day to check on the details and see to it that all the wedding and honeymoon plans were in place.  She was a constant for 2 months, then she receded back inside me, where she stays until I need her.  She comes when the stress gets to be too much.  She comes when I'm overwhelmed and can't handle the pressure.  Switch Kellie is smart and tough and can take care of business while keeping a clear head. HA!  "A clear head"-I don't think that's something we ever really have.  There's always something going on in there, always people talking.

This is the longest I've been without support in what feels like an eternity.  I've not been apart from my husband for this long since we got married 2 years ago.  I miss him terribly. It's very early and normally we'd both be sleeping right now, but I am unable to sleep without him beside me. I feel unsafe.  For whatever reason, the strong K's are nowhere to be found; it's just us weaklings here now.  Last night, I got scared of the dark at more than one point in the night, and I had no one to turn to, no one to put their arms around me and tell me I am safe.  I had more than one anxiety attack last night.  In between those, I was nearly manic. So much energy, so full of conversation...but no one to talk to and so I was unable to relax and calm down.  I'm all wound up and am having trouble being in the moment; I keep jumping ahead of myself, going too fast.  I need to slow things down to a manageable pace.  This hyperactivity on my part is damn annoying! I'm trying to keep quiet so that Mom doesn't know I'm awake. I'm just not ready for interaction with others yet.  I might just hide out in my room all day until Husband gets home.  The only thing I need is coffee, and I'm pretty sure I can sneak into the kitchen unnoticed...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Scrap of Paper

I found a handwritten note to myself (at least I think it's to me).  Not all of it makes sense, but I found it interesting and it's a peek inside K's mind.  I thought I'd share it with you here.  It goes like this:


(I typed that all in caps because that's how it was written) That's the end of the note, which I found on a scrap of paper stuck in between the pages of my journal.  I don't know when it was written and I don't remember writing it.


What's the difference between CBT and DBT?  I have to admit that I didn't know the differences until I looked it up to write this blog post. I was curious as to what kind of therapy I'm receiving, as I really don't know. I usually can't remember what my therapy sessions are like anyway, due to my dissociation and memory problems. However,  I want to know what method my doctor is in fact using.  I need to know what course she's charting for me, even if my ship keeps trying to sink. 

CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive meaning of or pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning (as contrasted with emotional processes).  Behavioral refers to the sum total of responses to internal and external stimuli.  Therapy...well, you know what therapy is. The premise of cognitive behavioral therapy is that changing faulty thinking leads to change in emotions and in behavior.  Therapists use CBT techniques to help individuals challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace errors in thinking such as overgeneralizing and catastrophizing with more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior.  Catastrophizing is to view or talk about an event or situation as worse than it actually is. (I have a problem with this)  CBT also focuses on changing or reversing the habits of magnifying negatives and minimizing positivesIt helps individuals replace maladaptive coping skills, emotions and behaviors with more adaptive ones, by challenging an individual's way of thinking and the way that they react to certain habits or behaviors. In other words, it's showing a person another side, an alternative, something different, that happens to be more positive rather than negative. Replacing "bad" thoughts with new, improved thoughts. It's like gaining a fresh, new perspective.

DBT is dialectical behavioral therapy.  Dialectical refers to linguistics, or language, and behavioral refers to actions. DBT combines standard cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness largely derived from Buddhist meditative practice.  It uses a combination of one-on-one therapy and also group therapy. DBT may be the first therapy that has been experimentally demonstrated to be effective in treating Borderline Personality Disorder (generally speaking).  It also has been shown to help with mood disorders, including self-injury.  Recent studies suggests its effectiveness with sexual abuse survivors and chemical dependency. (I'm a chemically dependent self-injurer who's been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in the past and who my psychiatrist (and some of the K's) believes is a survivor of sexual abuse, who also has an unspecified mood disorder.)  DBT strives to have the patient view the therapist as an ally rather than an adversary in the treatment of psychological issues.  Accordingly, the therapist aims to accept and validate the client’s feelings at any given time, while, nonetheless, informing the client that some feelings and behaviors are inadequate or faulty, and showing them better alternatives.  Mindfulness practice is increasingly being employed in Western psychology to alleviate a variety of mental and physical conditions, including obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety (both of which I have).

The more I read about DBT, the more I'd like to try it. The idea of using Eastern meditative traditions in my therapy sessions really appeals to me. It's too bad that DBT also involves group therapy, and I don't do group since I generally don't like people, and am even afraid of them. It appears that my therapist is using CBT (I think) and since we seem to be making progress, and even more importantly, since I've finally found a doctor whom I both respect and like as a person, I shall continue with my current course of treatment. After all, it's taken me years to find a therapist I feel comfortable with, and I think that's the most important thing of all when it comes to therapy.