To Hearts and Harmony

love

Well it’s that wonderful day again, Valentine’s Day.  It’s been a day like any other here.  My partner and I love each other very much but we don’t really feel the need to have a special day for expressing it.  I suppose it’s nice to have that one day where you’re shown appreciation but I think those things should happen every day.  Doing things like making each other a coffee or scratching their back are very simple yet very intimate.  I think these small things are what make up the every day of a relationship and it’s these things that are the glue to any relationship.  When you’re upset or angry you should be able to count on your partner to move outside of that and provide what they can by way of comfort and joy.  This is not to say that you can’t ever be at polar opposites of an issue and just can’t seem to find the middle ground but if you are still doing the small things for each other than the big stuff doesn’t seem quite so big.

My partner is fabulous.  She is very nurturing and caring, yet also very down to earth and states what she thinks in no uncertain terms.  There are things that we don’t agree on and when that happens it seems like it’s just a lot of work to get to a point where we can coexist in this melee of opinions.  But then she’ll get me a glass of juice and I’ll put her favourite show on and the other stuff just melts away because we are where we belong.  Together.

We are getting married this year.  I am very much looking forward to celebrating the small things.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  I wish you peace and connection with your loved ones.

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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?

Insiders have something to say

So today I had group. It’s a DBT group.  We are currently talking about interpersonal effectiveness.  It’s not the first time I’ve gone through this module.  I think I have a pretty firm grasp on how to ask for what I need and how to say no to unreasonable requests.  But it becomes a matter, once again of how this will be interpreted by the insiders.

Scratch all that.  We don’t want to talk about that.  What’s really on our minds is grief.  Stupid grief.  Who wants to think about grief?  not me, not the rest of us.  But there it is anyway.  There have been many deaths in the family in the past 8 months.  It sucks.  One was our cousin, one was our grandma and one was our uncle.  Not even the bad uncle, a good uncle.  It makes us very sad sometimes.  especially our grandma.  She was like Mrs. Claus.  She looked like her and everything.  She was nice and she loved us and she had rosy cheeks.  We have a statue that she kept in her house of her old dog.  We loved that dog too and he died.  But we have his statue so we don’t miss him so much.

We have our own dog.  SHe is a beagle.  And  we have two cats.  One is plump and one is skinny  The skinny one has diabetes so she has to have shots.  But it doesn’t hurt her too much.  Our dog is very cute.  SHe sleeps a lot and she likes to play at the dog park. She really likes to play in the snow which is a good thing because we have a lot of snow in the winter in our new home.  Well not in our home, but in our city, outside.  You know what I mean.

Anyway I just wanted to say that we are sad sometimes because there has been too many people dying and now our dad is sick.  But he has been sick for a long time and he said he’s not going to die anytime soon.

So that’s all right now.

Some of us.

Icky Sticky Feelings

So I’m supposed to be learning how to sit with my feelings.,  You know, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, all that jazz.  My therapist explained to me after I told her that I tried sitting with my feelings and felt stupid, that I am the opposite of most others in the DBT group.  She does not know this for certain, she is basing her opinion of averages.  A lot of people go into a group like this because they can’t contain themselves, can’t contain their sadness, their anger, their rage.  My problem is that I’m too controlled.  I’m bottled up so tightly that the second I start to feel something I run for the hills.  I don’t really feel comfortable with sadness and I certainly don’t do anger.

However, through my healing journey, that’s what people call it right?  Through this journey I’ve discovered that others contain these feelings for me.  I’ve decided that it isn’t really fair that my insiders have to carry that shit all the time.  God knows I would hate it.  And they are part of me, so I can only imagine they hate it too.  A topic for inner discussion one of these days.

I’m learning more and more about how to have these discussions with the insiders.  Not everyone is willing to participate yet but you can tell there is some curiosity there. Shhh… don’t tell them I said that. Ha! As if I could hide it.

Anyway, here I am….  sitting….  with no feelings.  Weird.

ppp