Introducing Maria

counselling cloud

Hello All.

Well the medical stuff is still up in the air.  I probably won’t get the test I need until March some time.  It’s frustrating to say the least to have to wait like that but I shouldn’t complain too much as our healthcare system is pretty darn good to me.

 

I recently posted a new link in my list down on the side. Oh yes and I’ve been experimenting with new looks over all.  Please share any feedback if you’d like to about that.  Anyway, the new link is to a wonderful counselor I stumbled upon in my searches.

self1Maria DeRubeis BSW, MSW, RSW

Individual, Family and Relationship Counselling

She is just starting out in the blogging world.  I consulted her about issues in the past and she’s fantastic to talk to.  I highly recommend keeping up with her blog as I expect the articles will be very insightful and helpful.  Her name is Maria Derubeis and it looks like she works out of Windsor, ON, Canada.  So if you’re in her area you can check her out.  She is versed in many different issues affecting individuals, couples and families.  I hope you get something out of what she has to say.

I’m out for now.  Have a great day!

 

 

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Update Continued (part 2)

new-beginnings

I was on my own for a while.  I moved to a new place that was more affordable on my own.  It was a nice apartment.  I sought the advice of a lawyer through legal aid.  He was a nice young man who wanted to help.  The divorce was simple really.  We did not have much to split up.  My ex had taken the time while I was in the hospital to divide up our things into what was hers and what was mine.  We divied up the furniture and the stuff.  It’s amazing how you can dismantle a life so easily.  We lived together for nearly 6 months after she told me she was leaving so she could get herself settled in her new life.  It was hell.  I would often cry and she would just roll her eyes and berate me.  We learned to ignore each other to the best of our abilities.  Most of our interactions consisted of her telling me she was NOT going to pay support as I had not earned it.  I said nothing.  I took the abuse and said nothing.  It was a terrible place to be.

My friends were supportive of me.  They tried to cheer me up as much as was possible.  I learned how to live life on my own.  I helped to support a friend who went through a life threatening illness.  Later I found myself a job.  It was the kind of job I had never done before and I was excelling.  I started to feel a little more human.  All the while I was in therapy.  I was dealing with grief over the loss of my marriage.  I was dealing with self harm thoughts.  I was dealing with insiders that didn’t really know what was going on.  But I was dealing.

I decided a year later that it was time for me to start meeting people and crawling out of my hole a bit.  But how to do this?  So I started online.  I found a chat room for lesbians and went in there.  I met some nice people.  I met some crazy people too.  Eventually I met the woman I’m going to marry.  At first it was a casual friendship.  Then it became a friendship with attraction.  Then a relationship based on trust, friendship and attraction.  Here we are 3 years later, and I’m engaged to be married to a wonderful woman.

Two years ago I started having health issues.  Just little things here and there.  None of it turned out to be too serious but it involved invasive medical tests that were quite triggering for me.  I started to miss work.  I started having more and more anxiety.  When I’m anxious I tend to switch more often.  This was not a good recipe for my work life.  The office was in upheaval as well with people leaving and being stressed out.  After taking a leave and going back for a brief time I decided that the office was too toxic for me to return.

I didn’t work for about 8 months when I decided to get back into the workforce with the support of my partner.  I thought I’d get back into retail because I thought it would be easy and mindless.  Boy was I wrong!  My anxiety reflexes kicked in big time and made it very difficult to attend.  I managed to scrape by for three months until I needed to take some time off.  Which is where I’m at now.  On leave and supposed to be considering going back in a few weeks.  I’m not sure what to do.  But that’s for another post.

I think I’m done updating in a general way.  I’m going to post this as it is.  I hope you are doing well on your own journey and if you aren’t…. well…. I offer you a place to sit a while.

-Peoplepuzzlepieces

 

 

Ta Da!!! I’m Back!!! (part one)

Update

Well, well, well.  Here I am over 6 years later and posting again.  Boy has it been an adventurous 6 years.  So much has happened for me both internally and externally.  I was in a marriage that apparently was falling apart.  I was not yet seeing my current psychiatrist/therapist.  I wasn’t working.  I had friends that are no longer in my life.  I lived in a different home.  I had 3 pets. I had never been hospitalized.  Wow,  those are just to name a few changes.

Let me tell you what has inspired me to come back and then I’ll fill you in on the details of what happened while I was gone.  Over at Discussing Dissociation there is a new forum that has opened up.  I’ve joined this forum as I think Kathy Broady is an amazing therapist and I think anything connected to her can only be good for us.  There was a section there where we could link to our artwork and linking to this site was the easiest thing I could think of to do so… Here I am!

I’m in a very different place now than I was 6 years ago.  I re-read all of our old posts and it became clear how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.  We being my system of insiders and myself.  Gosh, where do I start.  I last wrote in 2012.  I had seen my family in the late winter, early spring.  I even joked about my dad saying he wasnt’ intending to die anytime soon.  Little did we know we’d lose him a couple of months later on July 1st, 2012.  It was devastating.  I had been close with my father.  He taught me a lot.  And even though I lived 1200 km’s away I went to his bedside to be with him in his last days.  I watched him take his last breath.  All in all it was pretty quick.  A matter of a week really from the time he went in the hospital til the time he passed away.  But he had been ill for many years.  More ill than we ever knew because he downplayed the entire illness.  We laid my father to rest on July 6th, there was a family wedding on July 7th and there was a family birth on July 9th of that year.  This caused more upheaval than I ever would have imagined.

At the same time as this was going on I had begun to see my psychiatrist.  I was in the getting to know her stages.  Here I had struck gold.  A shrink with DID experience and special training in dealing with trauma.  Not only is she a psychiatrist but she is a talk doc.  She was the head of a trauma program for women in a major city amongst other accolades and is currently the head of psychiatry for the medical school in my region.  I have so much respect for my t as I will now refer to her.  She has guided me over these past 6 years towards healing and peace and I have learned so many skills through groups she has run as well as individual therapy.  I currently see her approximately every month.  This changes as my needs change and as her schedule allows.  This leaves me plenty of time to learn how to deal with things on my own and to use the skills I’ve been taught.  My t is an amazing woman who has faced time in war zones and hospitals alike.  Actual real war zones!  Like with bombs and guns and armoured vehicles.  I am astounded by her strength of character.

Time marches on.  Following the death of my dad I went through natural grieving processes, with one exception.  The memories.  They started to trickle in very subtly and slowly.  So subtle in fact that I questioned my own sanity.  How could this be?  How could my dad, whom I loved fiercely, be an abuser?  I had thought it was my uncle who was my main abuser and sold me to other men. I thought it was my uncle who belonged to “the group” and dragged me into the mud.  It would turn out that I was mistaken.  My fathers’ face began to occupy faces that once remained blank in my mind.  The picture began to get clearer.  So I ran.  I ran from the truth.  I closed my eyes and turned away and ignored all that was happening to me inside.  I was scared, confused, lost and disheartened.

I was also pursuing compensation for my injuries sustained as a young person both physically and mentally from a government program geared towards such things.  It was like poking a beehive with a stick and then standing there being stung not knowing where to run or what to do next.  This would be my undoing.

I sort of became stuck in a place of misery and depression.  I was in a black hole and no one could talk me out of it.  This lasted for 2 years.  The trials and tribulations culminated in a very difficult hospital experience for me.  I was dissociating quite a lot and switching out to a younger female part that would use self-harm as her go-to coping mechanism.  My partner became very concerned, supposedly, and off to the hospital we went.  They kept me in the emergency department as a voluntary admission.  There was no room in the mental health ward.  I was hallucinating and the whole bit.  I even had one nurse chasing a ghost around the E.R. because I could swear I had seen my uncle walk by and he was to be nowhere near me.  I would spend the next 5 days under a watchful eye from the nurses station in the E.R.  It was hell and very triggering.  The sounds of a trauma center constantly in my ears.  I would come to be very unresponsive as I felt my mind shut down.

When I was finally moved to the actual ward my wife decided that this was the time to tell me that she was leaving me.  Dropped it like a bomb in the lunch room on the mental health ward.  Devastated once again.  There was no way for me to fight, no way for me to battle back, no energy for me to use from the ward.  My partner of 10 years was giving up on me.  My t was furious.  Though she suspected it was going to happen at some point she was furious with the way in which it happened.  I cried more than I’ve ever cried before.  The misery I was feeling was so deep, so visceral that I couldn’t breathe.

 

This is enough for now.  I need to pace myself so I don’t become too overwhelmed.  Thank you for listening and I welcome you back to my blog.  If you’re here for the first time I hope you find it interesting enough to leave a comment.  If not I’ll see you around.  I hope to write more here and help suss out what’s been going on for me.

Happy New Year Everyone!

-Peoplepuzzlepieces

The Mystical Therapist

           

            You know, I often think about what my therapist really thinks.  I’m pretty sure the majority of clients do that.  I’ve read a lot about the one sided nature of the therapist/client relationship, I’ve read about how attachment works, I’ve read about how the client wants to occupy a special place in their therapists life.  I’ve done a lot of reading.  It’s an interesting area of study.  This is why I love therapist blogs.  One in particular is What a Shrink Thinks.  It gives you a glimpse of what really goes on in the therapists mind.  It fulfills that craving I feel to know, to see, to really get into that mystical place that is the therapist brain.

            I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to work with some amazing female therapists.  A few of them were in person and another was online.  I never pass up the chance to say how much I like Discussing Dissociation.  Not that Kathy needs any advertising from me as you’ll see in this article but I don’t mind saying that her blog and one on one sessions I’ve had with her have been invaluable.  I’ve never had a male therapist so I have no idea what that relationship would look like or feel like.  I don’t know that I could even build that relationship.  But the women whose care I’ve been under for significant periods of time, well they’ve just been fantastic.

            I saw my first therapist when I was 15 and she continues to be a part of my life.  We’ve sort of segued into a hybrid sort of friendship but with boundaries sort of relationship.  I know that if I still lived in the same city as her I could call and seek therapy from her and she would be perfectly willing.  I also know that if I called and asked if she’d like to go for coffee she’d oblige me that way as well.  I know that I can send her a joke on Facebook just as easily as I can send her a private email asking about her health.  I know these things emotionally, intellectually.  I know them deeply.

            Another woman I worked with was quite the opposite of that first therapist.  She did not allow hugging or touching but still managed to develop affection for me and me for her.  She was very closed off about her personal life; it was not something we discussed at any great length at all.  But I grew to care deeply for this relationship, to depend on it for my very life.  When circumstances forced us to part ways when I left the city she told me that she would never forget me and that our experience changed the way she would conduct therapy in a profound way.  That made me feel so good.  It could have been a line she fed me but I really don’t believe that.  I believe she was being genuine and her declaration was heartfelt.  I have called her since leaving and she has been helpful in trying to find new resources for me.  Though she gently encourages me to rely more and more on the therapist I’m seeing now.  That is her style.  To push me in the direction I need to go however painful it might be is what she has always done.

            Anyway, what all this rambling is about is just to demonstrate that every therapist has their own style, their own way of dealing with the complexities of their job.  And to also talk about what it’s like to want to be a bigger, more important part of your therapist’s life.  What is it like to really get inside their minds?

            I haven’t yet developed that need, that attachment with my current therapist.  I feel as though I’m right there ready to take the leap. I just need one more push, one more reason, a teensy bit more reassurance that the leap will be worth it.

            I’ll be writing more about this subject again, but this is a good rough start.  Tell me what you think about the relationship you have with your therapist.  I know for multiples there are so many different levels and layers.  How do you deal with all of that?

Therapy. Wait, what were we working on again?

 

One of the things I love about my therapist is that she checks in with me every so often to make sure we’re on the same page.  Do I know what her goal is?  Do I know what my goal is?  Are they the same?  Are we in the right stage, going in the right direction?  Are we moving forward or standing still?  How do I feel I’m doing now as compared to a month ago, 2 months ago?

            Today was one such day where we kind of looked at each other like, okay wait, what are you saying?  Where are you going with this?  I told my therapist that I kind of felt like we were in a holding pattern.  She didn’t necessarily agree with that assessment.  So that is why we stepped back and looked at our game plan.

            To me it feels like I’m playing the waiting game… again.  Waiting for the consultation with the DID specialist.  Waiting to see if she accepts me as a full time client.  Waiting to see if I’ll be continuing with my current therapist in some capacity.

            My therapist explained that even if we do continue seeing each other she wouldn’t be digging into trauma work with as of yet.  She feels that I still have a ways to go in achieving higher functioning in my daily life.  After dissecting what exactly she means, I have to agree with her standpoint.

            The goal now is to achieve some sort of structure in my day to day life.  I don’t have much of a schedule that I follow right now.  And what little scheduling there is certainly doesn’t include things like exercise, getting out of the house, regular meal times etc.  I’m very isolated at the moment which is partly to do with the season but I have been making strides in that department.  I try and accept invitations from friends more often and even initiate an afternoon out for coffee.  But there are other things such as volunteering that I have yet to follow up on.

            So the idea is to make up a schedule of an ideal day/week that strikes a balance between those things we must do and those things that are pleasurable, and then add those things into my actual schedule.  That means scheduling a shower, doing the dishes, vacuuming, going for a walk, going to the dog park, spending meaningful time with my wife.  Scheduling absolutely everything.

            But everything has to start somewhere, so much against my all or nothing nature the one thing I choose to add this week is going to the dog park at least 4 times.  Should be doable right?  I’ll keep you posted.

            In the end, my session with my therapist was quite productive today.  I like knowing where we stand.  It gives me that sense of control over the process that I so desperately crave in my life.

            After all, that’s what therapy is about right?  Building a sense of mastery in one’s life.

Remember, it’s okay to ask in therapy, “Wait, what were we working on again?”

Fear in all its Forms

So yesterday in therapy we talked about the darkness and the light.  We talked about how life has both, needs both, to balance the other out.  The reason we were talking about this is because I have been in a bit of a lull. A period of calm you might say.  With the exception of feeling a little melancholy here and there I’ve had mostly good days.

            I’ve written about this before in a slightly different context.  It is in these times that I find I can’t enjoy myself too much.  I can’t relax too much.  To let my guard down that way would be dangerous and ill advised.  It is hard to accept that things are okay without feeling that the other shoe could drop at any moment.  Of course, this all fits in with the PTSD and so, is somewhat inherently part of my makeup.  But what my therapist would like me to try and realize is that I don’t need to waste the okay times anticipating the bad.  The bad will come eventually whether I am prepared for it or not.  So why not just relax and basque in the glow of happiness without judgement?

            That’s where the DBT skills come into play as well.  Being mindful, present, doing one thing in the moment.  Filling up my time with pleasurable activities and being mindful of what exactly this emotion is.  I guess I truly am learning a few things in DBT.  I still don’t believe it’s the be all and end all that some chalk it up to being but it does have some useful ideas.  I guess really I’m a fan of anything I can do to keep out of the hospital.

            I know that many, if not most DID people have been in and out of the hospital at least a couple of times.  I’ve been close to being admitted a couple of times myself but in those moments of evaluation I was able to pull it together enough to receive outpatient care instead.   Being put in the hospital terrifies me.  I don’t know that I would even stabilize me in a time of need or if it would just scare me to death.  So I hope to avoid that eventuality at all costs.  Perhaps this fear even keeps me from reaching full healing potential.  For if I dig too deep I risk destabilizing and leave myself vulnerable to the need for intervention.  Unacceptable.  Maybe one of you can explain to me what happens in the hospital to take the mystery out of it for me.  Fearing the unknown is a huge issue in my life

            Fear in any form has been a huge issue in my life.  What to do about that?  What to do?

D.I.D. Specialist

So I received some news this past week that I haven’t shared yet.  My therapist tried contacting a colleague of hers to see if she had any experience treating someone with DID.  Her colleague did not but pointed out that there is a new psychiatrist in town that specializes in trauma.  My therapist just happens to have other clients that go to this psychiatrist so she felt comfortable enough contacting her about me, minus the revealing details of course.  IT turns out that the new psychiatrist worked in a large city and was involved in a women’s program that dealt extensively with trauma which inevitably included patients with DID.  Imagine that! A psychiatrist in our little city with such experience.  It’s like winning the lottery in a way.  My therapist was glad to find this out so she set up a referral for me.  The new psychiatrist has agreed to do a consultation to see if she’d be willing to take me on as a full-time client.  She is now in private practice which allows her to be selective about her caseload giving her more control over her schedule.  I understand this.  I just find it quite miraculous that I’ve finally found someone who has seen this disorder before.

My current therapist is a social worker with 20 years under her belt dealing with all manner of things.  She understands trauma and has been really good for me so far.  The new psychiatrist indicated that she would only consider taking me on if I was fairly stable and had a good sense of grounding and being present.  So my current therapist and I are working on making sure I have the grounding down pat.  As we went through a few techniques together I was actually surprised at how much I knew already.  Of course knowing it intellectually and putting it into practice are two totally different things.

Anyway, I’m very excited about this new development.  It will likely take a couple of months to get the actual appointment but that’s better than the years I waited for my current treatment.  I’m so very thankful for my current therapist.  If you are reading this… please know that.

Until next time,

ppp