Wednesday, November 30, 2011


30 days has September...April, June, and November...and ME!

As of today I officially have 30 days sober. And 30 days since I last cut. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay me! :)

Ever since the relapse on Halloween weekend I've been actively avoiding thinking about the day count. Thinking about multiple days, weeks, months, whatever is just too overwhelming and stressful for me. Staying sober from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed is so much more manageable. It also helps me focus on what I need to do in the moment, rather than the extra fear of throwin' away however many sober days....or thinking about how minuscule my sober time is compared to others and to where I eventually want to get.

But recently it hit me that I was nearly at 30. (Having my last drink be at the end of a month has the nice perk that it's easy to count! lol). Now that I'm here it's just unbelievable to me. 30 days...a whole month where I didn't use anything to numb my brain. I actually used the resources I have inside to deal with the crap that came my way. And it wasn't an easy month either. I'm still dealing with school, as well as the Thanksgiving holiday. There were definite hard times but I found my way through them, and I proved to myself that it is possible to do so.

It's so surreal to be here now, at this mark, that I keep checking the calendar to make sure it's really true. I keep wondering if maybe I drank or cut and forgot about it, or got the dates confused. Ever since the new memories and all that came back, as well as just dealing with the overwhelming amount of shit in my life, I remember wondering if living without alcohol was possible for me. Hell I was wondering if living at all was possible!

I know that this is just the tip of the ice berg. I know I have a long ways to go and it's going to take a lot of time, effort, and patience. But for right now it's nothing short of miraculous and it feels amazing. I feel like I'm on the right path and really going somewhere. Now I just need to learn how normal people celebrate...besides going out for a drink! lol


I'm grateful for everyone who has helped me along in this process thus amazing friends, the people at the clinic, my fellow iop'ers who have been willing to share themselves with me, ppl from other groups, AA ppl, anyone who has left me a nice message, email, or phone call of support, and even the ppl who have taken the time to smile at me when I'm having a bad day. I couldn't have done any of this alone. We saw last August what happens when I try to make it through alone. It's taken, and will continue to take, a whole sea of people to get me through, and I'm so so grateful for those out there who keep reaching out to help me along.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I'm not a person that likes to make excuses. Ok sometimes I am...mostly out of necessity...but I really try to accept it and move on when I've screwed up. As much as I can I would rather fess up and deal with the consequences than try to hide. (And really, I'm harder on myself than anyone else could be on me). But sometimes this gets complicated.

Today was pay the price day for skipping class the week before Thanksgiving. I walked in to class and was greeted with "River do you have your paper and worksheets?" Ummm....what? Clearly I've missed something. Turns out today was the due date for the write-up and all the documentation paperwork and evaluation for our experience hours. The crappy thing is that I did all of my hours back in September but neglected to do the documentation. Now I'm going to be late in getting credit for the hours just because I don't have the proof.

I went to talk to the professor after class. I apologized for missing class and said that I was really lost with what was going on. She showed me the 5 bazillion places where this deadline was written...all over the syllabus, in the info posted online, in the email she sent out, etc. Plus she said she announced it in class multiple times. This assignment is a HUGE part of our grade so it's a really big deal. I did email a friend after I missed class to ask what i'd missed and she didn't mention any of this stuff. Frustrating, but the blame is mine...I get that. After the prof said all this I kinda just stared blankly. I didn't really know what to say. There wasn't much to say. She knows what I've been going through. Early on in the semester I was much more willing to use what I'm going through as an excuse, but I just didn't want to start begging and laying out all my crap for the sake of a grade.

I told her I didn't know what to do, and she reminded me that it said in the syllabus that anyone missing 2 or more classes could be kicked out of the class. I can't even count how many i've missed. She let my trip post-hospital count as excused bc I explained why I needed it, but there's still probably 5 or so unexcused. I really can't ask or expect any more from her. It's time to just deal with it and pay the price. She did say that she had told some other ppl she would count it as on time if it's in by midnight tonight, so I'm working on my paper and hoping that my supervisor will get the info in before midnight but I highly doubt he will. I can't really ask him to do it in a day considering I've had 2 months to ask him.

Somewhere in the midst of all this I started sobbing, because apparently that's what I do now. She asked if I was ok and I basically said that I just need to get through this semester because there's been so much else going on that it'd just felt impossible. She said she understood how hard it can be when you start out on the wrong foot. Then I got a case of verbal diarrhea and started rattling off the list I've been thinking of recently of just how much I've dealt with this semester outside of school related stuff...including:

suicidal ideations
living with 2 different friends
finding and moving in to an apartment
and so much more

I was really trying hard not to use this stuff as an excuse, since I want to be held to the same standard as everyone. But I did keep saying things like "what you've seen isn't me. I'm a good student!" because I know I've looked pretty useless this semester. Though the work I've gotten in I've gotten very good grades on. She asked if if I'd been to the counseling center at school (which I have...that's where the hospital saga started). I started to tell her about the program I'm doing and said, "Oh, and I got sober this semester." Her demeanor changed a lot when I said that. She got extra smiley and said "Wow that's great. Really great. Way to go!" Then she added subtly, "I know how that goes. I've been down that road before." I was still crying a bit and I said "And I'm just not used to emotion," and she said, "Because you're used to self-medicating. You're not used to feeling." She paused, then added, "That goes away. I can tell you that. That goes away."

It was a crazy and totally unexpected moment to have with a professor. She is one of those young, successful, looks like she has it all together type people. I would've never guessed in a million years that she's had any addiction issues. Granted she could be referring to seeing it through someone close to her, but with the way her demeanor changed and the way she spoke about it I don't think that's the case. I left there smiling. Still freaked out about getting this work done, but smiling. Amazing how a little connection like that with someone who understands and is more experienced and farther along than I am can do so much.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all this. Just words that needed to get out I guess. Or maybe I'm just trying to avoid writing my paper! lol

I'm grateful for the people of the world who understand...the people who can look beyond my flaws and my mistakes and just see me. That's something I really struggle with, both for myself and for other people...but I love that there are people out there that can help find the good, well-meaning person in me.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful, Part 2

I mentioned at the end of my last post that I've been really struggling with the whole thankfulness thing this Thanksgiving. It feels strange to be saying that because I've put more effort than I ever have recently into gratitude and actually writing down what I'm grateful for. I used to get so angry at ppl that would tell me to look on the bright side or focus on the good or whatever. Now I really make a point to notice it, acknowledge it, and somehow give thanks for it (a spoken prayer, writing it down, etc.). But despite all of that, and the relative smoothness of the last few days, this holiday has been confusing.

I mentioned previously that it's my little nephew who was really the difference maker in preventing my suicide. I really do love that boy more than absolutely anything in the world, and would give anything for him. But because of how, and how much, I thought of him while in that suicidal place, I can't help but be reminded of it when I see him now.

It was just 3 months ago that I was being dragged into the hospital on a forced hold. It feels like a lot, but that's a short time in the big picture. For different reasons a few times lately I've found myself reading old blog posts, emails, messages, etc. from the really bad time. It is so strange to "hear" my own voice coming from such a desperate place.

I have a strange relationship with that desperate place now. I know it intimately. I spent a lot of time there. But when I read my own writing it is sometimes hard to believe the words are really my own. There is just such an intense desperation there. I remember feeling so "separate" from everyone else, and often like I couldn't speak because my words couldn't connect to others. I felt hollow, and alone in an indescribably intense way. It's a feeling I think one has to experience to truly know, but looking back now I can hear it so loudly through my words. Reading those words now is like feeling it again, while also being haunted by the fact that I was ever there.

Seeing my little boy, as well as others who love me, has the same effect. The place I'm staying now is where I came almost immediately after being out of the hospital. Last time I was here I was still in a very scary place. While I feel the good and the love that's here, it's impossible not to think about everything else that comes with it.

There are so so many emotions attached to the suicide thing. First, the fear. I hear people talk about how suicide is a selfish act, and how could a person do that to others in his life. But the thing is, by the time you've reached that place it's like you're being taken over by a different set of thoughts that are not your own. It is a complete loss of control. To save myself I was able to tell a friend (online) enough that she was able to call my therapist and get an emergency appointment. By the time I got there they were pretty well tipped off that they were going to need cops and ambulance and all that. It took that much to save me from myself. It's so scary to think that I literally nearly died. I'll be talking to someone now and think, "Wow, I wonder what their life would be like now had I died? How would this be different?" Trust me that is a really creepy thought to have! I get into these long trains of thought of wondering about my funeral, who would've been, how ppl would remember me, etc. It just feels scary and ugly inside.

That brings up another big emotion: guilt. On the one hand I know how out of control I was. But on the other it was still me and my actions. I feel horrible that I was so close to taking away someone that these people love. I struggle to comprehend the love at this point, and often have the "they'd be better off without me" thoughts, but for whatever reason they love me. And I know enough to know it would be wrong to take that away from them. Most people in my life don't know how close I was to death. I hope they never find out because I'd rather not have to explain myself that extensively, but how crazy is it to be talking to a friend about how school is going or random everyday trivial stuff when a part of me inside is screaming, "I almost died! I could be dead now! You don't even know and you think nothing happened but I almost died!" It's a constant dilemma of not wanting word to get out but feeling like i'm lying when someone asks what I've been doing lately and I say, "Well I've been pretty busy with school." It's the truth, and "Well I spend many hours in therapy after nearly killing myself" is not exactly the conversation starter I want, but it's hard to hold conversations that feel trivial.

So all these thoughts are swirling through my head all the time while I'm out here on my vacation. Every time I see my nephew...every time an old friend asks what I've been up to....etc. etc. Needless to say the crazy emotion thing i've been on for a while now is not letting up! On Thanksgiving day we went to a 5k walk/run. Right at the start of it the announcer said something about how we all have something to be thankful for. Just a quick little comment but it had me sobbing before I knew it. (The event later had me crying again because my feet hurt so bad I wasn't sure I was going to finish it...frustrating for this former runner who used to run 5k's often w/out a problem. Thankfully I was alone for most of this so I had time to process it). I've been having to take lots of breaks just so I can hide out and cry for a bit. Again I'm around people who are supportive, but I don't want to be asked to explain the emotions. I'm not ready for that yet.

One thing that has surprised me a lot is that I've been unable to say that I'm thankful I'm alive. I thought that was something I was feeling but it's not there yet. I can say with all honesty I'm relieved i'm not dead, but that's a far cry from thankful for being alive. I hadn't realized just how far apart those two ideas are. My life is hard right now. I know it will always have its challenges but right now it's a fight for every day. I'm glad for the chance to fight but it's surprisingly hard to celebrate. I guess I feel a little guilty that I'm not more thankful for my life. I was spared through caring friends who wouldn't let me get away with isolating, a little baby who had no idea he was saving me, and some dumb luck. I want to be grateful for a second chance but I'm not there yet. I have to admit I'm a bit scared that I'm not because the suicidal thoughts seem like a giant vortex, sucking in everything around it. I really really don't want to be sucked back there. I know this has to be a slow process, so I've gotta keep trusting what I'm being told and fighting to move farther from the vortex. I think I feel closer to the vortex though with all these ppl around and all the talk about being thankful.

Finally, this trip is showing me that things are hard right now. I really am thankful for what I have, but everything is a fight. I had to strategically plan my Thanksgiving dinner so I could leave before the drinks got too prevalent. I had to constantly be on guard in order to stay in control. This resulted in panic attacks a few times from just not knowing what to do. I haven't gone anywhere without a bag full of distractions...books and such..just in case I need to step away and "take a nap" to catch my breath. I think my friends here think I take lots of naps...or maybe they know I'm not really sleeping. I'm sure I came off as rude at least a few times, but I can't handle the social thing all that well now. It takes soooo much energy to go through this level of planning for every day. Plus I'm so on guard so much of the time I don't get the full enjoyment out of things. I barely remember what I ate for Thanksgiving dinner (and I actually ate very, very little) because I was too busy worrying about the drinks. After I left I realized I'd never stopped shaking the whole time I was there. I'm not sure I had been breathing either cus I felt pretty dizzy. Most of my energy had gone to fighting the little monster inside that would do anything for a drink. I'm doing my best to believe that this level of pre-planning, struggling, fear, etc. is temporary. I think it is, and I think it's ok for now because I think I'm doing the right things. I've struggled in the past but I think this time I'm building the right foundation so eventually it will be solid underneath me and I'll be able to do things with less fear. I sure hope so!

For now, all the feelings, emotions, and experiences are double-edged. But according to my dbt class that's a lot of how life is. Nothing fits in the black and white the way we want it to. For now I'm just practicing staying calm in the midst of it all. Frankly, I'm doing a pretty damn good job of it. So maybe that's what I'm thankful for. :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011


I've thought a lot about what I want to say here. It's hard to put in to words. Everything has been a whirlwind here and its really hard to believe it's only been 2 days.

First, I just have to say that it's been as amazing as I'd hoped (and then some) to see my little boy again. I always worry that he's going to cry or not want to go to me when he sees me, since 2 months is a really long time in his world. (Usually it's longer, but this time i've gotten lucky to have two visits in such close succession.) When he first saw me at the airport he did his usual stare down like "this girl looks familiar but I just can't place her." But not long after I picked him up and he just looked at me, broke into this big ole smile, and started laughing. It absolutely melted my heart. I didn't do anything silly faces or tickling or anything to make him laugh. I just held him and he was all smiles about it right from the start. Then this morning we were on our way somewhere and I was sitting in the back next to his seat. He'd been a little grumpy when we got in the car. But I squeezed his hand and he wrapped his hand around my finger. He wouldn't let me go, and for the whole car ride sat there playing with my hand and looking at it and smiling. Again it was nothing special that I was doing but so sweet of him. It was like he just wanted to study my hand. When I got out of the car he protested loudly (even though dad and grandma were still there w/him).

I don't want to risk jinxing anything, but I have to say that this trip has gone so well thus far. I've been really impressed with myself and how well I've been able to handle things. I've been able to stay very aware of my own thoughts, emotions, and needs so I can take care of myself. I've been amazed at how well I've been able to step back and take a deep breath when I get stressed. I've been able to see the drama and everything for what it is. Rather than getting emotional and let the stress and drama and everything get to me, I can step back and say "she's yelling and upset because _______ (hasn't eaten, tired, etc)" It's a weird situation bc this family has all sorts of drama (doesn't everyone?) with inlaws and all that, and I end up pushed into the middle of it sometimes because I hear it from both sides. It tends to really stress me out or leave me frustrated/upset. Anyway...I've been amazed at times that I've seen myself think, "I could get really angry and upset about this, but if I just do _____ it will only take me a few extra minutes and it will prevent a lot of additional arguing." I say seen myself think, because it shocks me that I actually can think like that. Usually I get so wrapped up in proving my point or whatever it is that I help turn little things into big fights. I've been very proud of myself in being able to diffuse situations instead of escalate them.

On top of that I've been strategic with scheduling time for myself to regroup. I scheduled myself a "nap" time, plenty of time with baby, and offered to do a lot of last minute errands just to get some time to catch my breath. I'm not a social type person at all, especially when I can't have a drink. But now that i'm more aware of it I don't get so totally overwhelmed because I regroup and get my energy back. I'm sure I still came across as a bit rude tonight when I left early from the dinner, but I was overwhelmed by people I didn't know and lots of alcohol and just wasn't feeling safe or comfortable at all. The temptations have been a big challenge. I went out to buy more beer earlier tonight and started thinking "well I could get something and drink it in the car before I go back in and no one would ever know." Of course, most ppl here don't know about my battle with alcohol so they wouldn't care, but I still was thinking about how to hide it. Tonight after dinner when the mixed drinks flowing I really struggled. My friend's wife makes some famously good very alcoholic egg-nog which was very very hard to resist. I saw a lot of other drinks coming out and was VERY glad that an opportunity to leave early presented itself.

I'm definitely emotional. I'm having sobbing/crying jags mostly out of the blue. Thankfully I've managed to use my alone times to release it so I haven't had too much embarrassment of crying in front of the crowds.

Oh, and in other news yesterday I went to see the doctor that I saw when I lived here. He's amazing. He's a chiropractor and he also does some naturopath type stuff. It's hard to explain without it's own whole post so send me a message if you'd like details. Basically what he does though is look at your body as a whole and how things are functioning together. We call him the "magic doctor" because he'll literally fix your knee pain by adjusting your shoulder. When I lived here I messed up my foot and I went to him. He helped with so much of the pain by adjusting other parts of my body that had been thrown out of whack because I was compensating for the injured foot. It was so huge that when I finally saw the foot dr and asked him when I could start running again his jaw about hit the floor. He couldn't believe that I was even walking on it with the injury I had! (Granted I have a high tolerance for pain, but still. It really felt so much better after seeing the "magic doctor"). He did some tests that basically showed that a lot of my internal functions are very unhappy with me because of all the stress, the food craziness (not eating, over-eating, eating junk, etc.), and the drinking and sudden stopping of the drinking. This is all stuff I pretty well know but the way he confirmed it was pretty neat. He has me working towards a specific diet now and gave me some numbers of ppl he recommends to follow up with in my area. This may all sound like craziness when I describe it, but it is AMAZING how much better I feel. He obviously didn't cure me of my woes but I no longer feel like my entire body is tied in a knot. After everything that's happened I had been feeling like I was wound so tight I could barely move. The physical symptoms from the stress were so apparent all the time that it was creating a lot of pain and other issues (which of course caused more stress and less successful functioning on my part). I'm soooo glad he was able to squeeze me in. And the fact that he did it for a very very reduced price because he's friends with my friends was a big added bonus. :)


Ironically on this day of thanks I'm struggling with exactly what I'm grateful for. It's a long story that I'm sure I'll get in to eventually when my brain is a bit more awake. But clearly things are going well for me now...knock on wood but I couldn't have asked for better than this. And I feel so good that I made it through a night of intense cravings and opportunity for drinking but didn't drink. Deep down I never really believed I could do that. That little voice inside me always thought "Well I'll try my best, but I'll probably slip. What can I really expect of myself anyway?" So I guess I'm grateful for seeing that I can have success and do have hope for more in the future.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A letter to my little boy

(M&M is my best friend's little boy. I think the rest of this post should explain itself. This is the family I'm going to see for Thanksgiving so the emotions have been all over the place. This is what came out in my journal.)

My dearest M&M. My baby, my nephew, my little boy. I feel close to you in a way I never have to anyone before. I was there for your birth. I held your wrinkly little self when you were mere hours old. For your first six months of life I lived with you and your parents to help out. You weren't much of a fan of sleep back then, so you and I spent a lot of time together just rocking. We'd go for walks together, and I'd know you were getting sleepy when I'd feel your little head nestle into my chest in its spot. It seemed to fit there so perfectly. I kept walking long after you drifted off, just to be sure you were really asleep. Or maybe it was to savor the wonder of you just a little bit longer.

What you may never know is how you saved my life just a few months ago. Things had gotten bad for me. I felt so abandoned by the adults in my life. I didn't know how to live anymore. But when I was most alone, I felt your head on my chest in the spot where it had fit so well. I saw your beautiful face in my mind. You were the difference between me telling someone my suicidal plans or my life being cut short. You are my hero.

As soon as I was out of the hospital I just wanted to see you. I needed to hold you, hug you, feel you in my arms, and know that you're real. When I did, I held you, and I cried. I thanked you for saving me.

We went on a long walk that weekend. I told you I loved you and that I'd do anything to be there for you. I can't wait for the chance to see you grow up. I promised you then that I will do everything I can to make sure that the world is good to you. I told you that no one better ever think of hurting you. They'll have me to deal with, and I mean it. I want you to know safety and peace as you grow.

I don't feel deserving of your love. After what I did you need something better. But I'm reminded every time I see you that what you really want from me is me. Just me. Your love for me is blind. You don't see my scars, physical or otherwise. But somehow, you know that I'm your auntie and that's how it's meant to be. You don't worry about the past and what might've been. You are fully there in our moment together. You look at me, and you smile.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Helluva day

As was exhausting.

It started off bad. The night before I'd given myself all the pep-talking I could about getting up in the morning and getting to iop on time. But morning came and I just couldn't do it. Not only was I late but I just couldn't get myself to go at all. It was already past the latest I can realistically check in before I had even left my house (and including parking and all that it's close to a half hour trip). So yeah...not happening. I forced myself to at least get to the place though rather than staying home. I figured I'd hang out in the lobby and try to catch Stupidface afterwards to at least let him know I'd made the effort. I'd promised him on friday that I would so I felt I needed to go even if I was really, really late.

While I was sitting in the lobby I did some thinking and decided to write a letter to the iop group. I knew I was leaving ppl worried because i'd missed wednesday and then showed up friday only long enough to cry my eyes out, say I couldn't bring myself to share anything, and then leave. (They didn't know I had to leave to go to the lab). Since we all come from pretty crazy backgrounds, we all tend to assume the worst when there's unknown...not to mention since all of us have been inpatient in one form or another, the worst can be really bad. I wrote a letter to explain that I was ok, just isolating due to fear. When everyone came out for the second break I went to Stupidface and apologized for being so late and asked if I could have a minute to read something to the group. He agreed.

When everyone came back in I felt all the eyes on me. Stupidface said I had something to read and to go ahead, and I instantly started crying and said I couldn't do it. A few ppl offered to go instead but Stupidface helped me take a minute and catch my breath. I said I would cry too much and one of the women I'm closest to said "I have a tissue!" lol So I read it, terrified of the results. (I'll post it at the end of this post). The first reaction was "well I think we can all relate to that." I'm not sure if my jaw actually dropped to the floor, but it sure did on the inside. Everyone told me how they could relate, how they'd done the same thing, and how they were impressed at my strength and courage for showing up and saying what I did. At the end almost everyone came and gave me hugs and said they supported me and were glad I came and all that. It was totally shocking and overwhelming. Everyone confirmed that they're glad I'm there, and that they miss me and worry about me when I'm gone. This is huge to me to think that I'm not just accepted but actually an integral member of the group. Wow.

I don't feel strong or courageous at all. I feel like courage would've been to just suck it up and show up. But one woman even called me later in the evening to tell me just how impressed she was with my courage and that she wanted me to know she cared about me. I called her back and she just had so much nice stuff to say to me. She said she related to me and that I give her hope. Yeah wow.

It's really unfortunate that the next iop group I have won't be until next monday, but it is really freeing to know I am still accepted there. I don't think I've ever had a moment like that...especially in person (i've had a few pretty emotional moments w/online friends). I cried through reading the whole letter and was still accepted at the end. Cool.

The rest of the day was far less eventful. My freakout didn't come up in dbt. We talked about dealing with holidays the whole time for dbt which is always hard for me but maybe some of it will be helpful. My dr. appt. was pretty uneventful...he didn't give me any grief about antabuse or anything else. And the counselor/therapist switching stuff has all been put on hold until next week...annoying but at least I don't have to deal with meeting and getting to know a new person in the midst of everything right now.

So that's as's the letter I read to the iop group:

"I could blame it on traffic, or being sick, or over-sleeping, or under-sleeping, but there's really only one reason I can't get myself here and on time: fear. It's gotten so bad lately I feel terrified to leave my house. It's especially hard to come here because people here know the real me and it's so much harder to hide.

It's not anything personal. In fact it's the opposite. I consider all of you like my family. You know me for me and still care about me anyway. That means a lot to me. I care about you all and miss you a lot when i'm not here. On the days I can't make it I find myself really wishing I could be here with you all.

But caring for people and being cared for like that scares the heck out of me. Maybe it's because being close means I'm opening myself up to being hurt, or I'm more likely to let people down when I fail. I don't know all the reasons, but I know that the closer I feel the scarier it becomes. I know I don't want to lose what I have here, but I also don't know how to get through the fears and get here. I also don't want to hurt anyone with my lack of participating in the group the way I'd like to and I'm sorry if I have."

I also ad-libbed a little more at the end about how my life is boring on the outside but on the inside I feel like I'm drowning under a tidal wave. I guess I felt a need to reaffirm that there's nothing actually going on...that nobody died...I didn't get kicked out of school...nothing like that....I just can't stop crying because I can't stop crying. That's a big part of why I've felt so crappy about all this, and why I was so so surprised when others said they've felt the same way. Most everyone talked about the same struggle. Also most everyone said they also considered us a family, which made me happy. :) But again, I don't feel strong or courageous at all, and it's actually rather mystifying to me that everyone keeps telling me I am.


I'm grateful for my amazing iop group and them being so willing to hear me and receptive of what I wanted/needed to say. Pretty obvious one tonight. :)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

If it ain't one thing...

...then it's 2 or 3!

That's a line from a favorite song of mine. It sounds really depressing but it's actually pretty funny.

I feel like a lot of times on here I complain about the same stuff. I feel like the same issues keep coming up in my life and i don't know how to deal with them. So I guess my brain is complaining about the same things again and again whether I like it or not.

The fear is still really awful right now. I made it out of bed a little today but still not out of the house. I did manage to get out of the house to see a movie with a friend yesterday. I can get out if i'm sorta dragged out by someone but I have no motivation of my own. I'm not sure if it's really a motivation issue though. There's lots of stuff I want to do but all I can feel is fear. I feel terror related to everything.

Tomorrow is going to be a really hard day for me. Normally I like mondays because there's a lot of different structure and a lot of helpful things going on but tomorrow they're all going to be hard. The schedule goes iop, dbt, then dr. Iop is going to be hard bc I barely went last week, and when I did it was on friday only long enough to sob my eyes out and then have to leave again. Plus the same reasons that made me afraid last week (feeling close, feeling i'm letting ppl down, etc.) are still there. Dbt is usually a fun and helpful one for me. I always say I'd go every day if they'd let me. Well last monday I ended it by screaming, crying, and walking out. I know ppl "get it" and will eventually get over it, but its way less comfortable to go to this week. I'm not excited to face the group of ppl i flipped out in front of. The dr. appt won't be as bad but I need to bring up some new info that's come up that might be hard to discuss. Also I need to fess up and admit that I didn't make it to the clinic to take antabuse yet again, so I have to be restarted on it for a 3rd time. I didn't drink at all in the midst of this, but I know from the outside it looks like that's what's going on. Then on top of all this I have to go through the potential switching of therapists tomorrow. I don't remember how much I said about this in earlier posts...but basically after all the craziness with my t last week he's working on switching me to the woman that runs the women's ptsd support group. If she can see me I think it'd be so much better. I really liked her when I went to the group, even though the group wasn't really the right fit for me, so I'd love to work w/her. It sounds like the possibilities are 1.) fully switch to her, 2.) do a couple sessions with her and then go back to seeing stupidface for individual since current t and I don't seem to be connecting, or 3.) work it out with current t. I'd say I'm hoping for them in that order. After how much I got lectured at the end of last week, I have very little desire to work with current t. I'm willing to work it out with him if that's what everyone decides is best, but it seems he doesn't have much of a clue what i need if after missing a couple of appts he goes instantly to lecturing me about being removed from the program. Regardless, all of that is apparently going to be decided tomorrow. So yeah...there's a lot to figure out tomorrow. And, this is really my only therapy day for the week because of the it'll be another week before I can deal with whatever comes from today...rather than the usual just two days.

Tonight I tried to talk with a friend about all this. I'm supposed to be practicing telling ppl how I'm feeling. I didn't really want to talk but I gave it a try and told her all this. And she said nothing. She basically said "oh well people will get over it and it'll all work out eventually." While true, it really doesn't help me deal with the stress of right now. Maybe I'm misunderstanding how this whole talk to people thing is supposed to work but it frustrates the crap out of me. I feel like it happens a lot, that ppl say I can talk to them but when I actually start to say what's going on they just never really reply or change the subject or whatever else. I'm not looking for advice or expecting magical answers...but a "hey wow that sucks," or a "anything I can do to help?" goes a long way.

Now on top of all of this....i had the tv on as background noise bc I hate bein in my apt when it's totally quiet and all of a sudden I hear this woman talking about learning self-hate from a young age. Then this guy says that he was "told he was a mistake from very early on." The feeling of wanting to puke was instant. That is exactly what I was told. My attention was fully drawn in right at that moment to hear that. Sometimes it feels like this stuff is just stalking me. Turns out this local nightly news person who does interviews w/important ppl around town was doing an interview with sexual abuse survivors in light of stupid Penn State. I'm sure this is a great way to raise awareness and it's stuff ppl need to hear, but wow it hit me like a ton of bricks to suddenly hear that phrase out of the blue. I dove for the remote to turn it off, but as soon as I did realized I was intrigued by it and wanting to hear more. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment but I turned it on and watched the rest. It was kind of amazing really. They weren't talking about experiences in detail or anything, but they were saying all this stuff that I was thinking and experiencing. They were talking about how the understanding and memories of one's past are so different for an SA survivor in a way that a non-survivor can't grasp, and that it feels hopeless, and how unbelievably terrifying it is to tell even someone very very close, and getting through it is the hardest thing they've ever done but with lots of help they were able to get through this. All this stuff that was so so validating for me in a way that therapy hasn't managed to be thus far. I really do feel like an alien sometimes and as painful as it was to hear these people say this stuff out loud, the fact that they were saying it out loud meant that it was real, and maybe ok to feel. I'm wondering if I should try to get in touch with an abuse survivors network. There's a big one here that does lots of support groups and helps set ppl up with therapists. Everyone at the program I'm in now has told me to try not to focus on the abuse now and just to worry about being stable and building coping skills, but just these 15 min. of hearing i'm not alone with the crazy thoughts from my abuse made such a world of difference. I'm hoping that that's what I'll get out of meeting with this new therapist. I'm not against seeing a male therapist, but a woman who also runs a ptsd support group seems much more likely to grasp the actual level of fear going on in my head right now.

On that note, I have come to a bit more of a conclusion about the fear. Stupidface's question about why I'm afraid of success has been running through my head ever since he asked me on friday. I absolutely am, there's no question about that, and I knew it as soon as he said it. I couldn't really say why though. I think part of it is because it's unfamiliar territory. At least down in the depths I know what to expect. I think it's also that I'm very afraid to fail. I feel like less of a failure if I don't try...vs. trying and then failing. Finally, I think I'm afraid of letting people down. If I'm just a screw up people expect me to screw up. Once I start succeeding others start expecting more from me. Then when I fail I let down not just myself but them too. Or maybe it's really just me that I let down and i'm afraid of doing that to others.

On top of knowing that tomorrow's going to be hard it's that much harder knowing that the therapy time is limited because it's the holidays. Holidays are always hard for me. I have people to spend thanksgiving with, but it still doesn't make it any easier (ok maybe a little easier). The thing is, when I'm around ppl it still feels like it's just reinforcing what i'm missing. Like, it's almost harder because it's right there rather than just being in denial of it. They want me to feel like they're a part of my family too, but easier said than done. I also realize that a lot of my holiday issues are totally my fault. I've chosen to make them a sort of grieving day. Maybe it's because they're never able to live up to my expectations, but in a sense I like to step back and accept what I'm missing that day and not fight it. I'm sure I could do a lot more to make it a better day, but I can't/won't/don't. At least my little nephew will be there. It's really hard to be unhappy around him. I think that's why I like babies so much. The world is just simple when you're a baby. He likes the people he knows that are nice to him. Period. There's no drama or anything else. He doesn't know how it's "supposed" to be or what a holiday is "supposed" to mean. He just wants to do what makes him happy. And luckily for me, I make him happy. :) At least I did 2 months ago. Hopefully he hasn't forgotten me too much since then.

Thanks for reading!


Instead of saying what I'm grateful for tonight I'm going to ask a favor. For those of you that do have intact families and are rushing around like crazy to get everything ready for the perfect holiday gathering...please take a moment to appreciate those around you and the love between you all. Please take the time to let go of the stress, and don't get caught up on what's supposed to be. I know nobody has the perfect Hallmark family, and I know wanting to recreate what I don't have is futile, but it just saddens me so much to see amazing families with members who forget to ever spend time together...or people who get so caught up in making the holidays and their holiday dinner perfect that they seem to forget actually why they're celebrating. So please don't take for granted the family around you, and I'm going to try my very best not to take for granted the amazing friends who have taken me in and allowed me to be a part of theirs.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I've been really in to making lists lately. I've also been realizing lately just how many much fear I have, and how many things I'm afraid of. I started making a list of things i'm afraid of, only to realize that I'm pretty much afraid of walking out my front door. I don't mean that in the sense of having panic attacks about the great outdoors or anything, but just that I really am afraid of everything in my life. I'm afraid of being close to people as well as being alone...afraid of failure, afraid of being hurt, afraid of letting ppl down, etc. etc. So yeah, at this point making a list of fears is too much and not helpful.

So instead I want to bring up something else I've been thinking of that I think relates. It's been on my mind a lot lately for reasons I'm unsure maybe if I put it out here it will be meaningful to someone else as well.

Years ago I went from pretty much couch potato to completing a triathlon. I got a lot of training advice and help through a website for people like myself...those not necessarily looking to win a race or be competitive, just wanting to successfully complete it. A very common question asked there was, "But what if I come in last?"

The answer: DFL > DNF > DNS

What does this mean? Finishing dead last is better than not finishing, which is better than not starting.

It's scary as hell for me to keep trying to fight this stuff...keep going to my appts...keep letting my real, less-protected self out there...mainly because I put myself at risk of being hurt, and of failing. I'm afraid of not being perfect and not doing it "right" because that might mean I'm a failure. The thought that I might give my absolute best and still not succeed is absolutely terrifying. At least if I don't try, I can still say "well I could've done it...had I wanted to."

I struggle so much with continuing to remind myself that I HAVE done something just by starting the race. I remember volunteering at a water station for another triathlon later. We were encouraging the racers and I heard a woman towards the back of the back talking about how she was so slow and what had she really accomplished. Another volunteer told her that she was so many miles ahead of so many people who likely hadn't even yet gotten out of bed that morning. The same is true for me now. Even though having started the race is showing me just how unbelievably long this course is, I'm so far ahead of where I'd be if I stayed in bed. There are so many times recently when I could've taken the easy way out. Instead I fought to get into groups, get to therapy, go to aa, and so much more. Sometimes (Ok often) I feel like I'm failing, not doing enough, or not doing it right, but I'm ahead of those still in bed. Sadly there's a lot of ppl in situations like mine who end up never really doing anything, or even killing themselves because they can't fight it, but right now that's not me.

I'm already past the DNS part. As far as finishing the race...I'm also struggling to accept that my path to the finish doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't matter if I take the ugliest, craziest way there, because somehow or another I'm going to get there. I want the struggle to fit the road map that is in my head. I want to check things off the list one at a time, moving my game piece ever closer to the final goal. But real life doesn't work like that. I talked w/Stupidface about this a lot yesterday...that a setback doesn't mean a failure, and that a setback isn't even always a's just what's happening. Sometimes, apparently, a flipped out, snotty, sob-fest is what needs to happen. It doesn't mean I've become a failure and it doesn't mean I need to give up and hide away by myself (though that's always what I want to do). I can't still keep going...keep racing and logging the miles...sometimes the path may twist and turn and cross over itself...sometimes i may have to limp or crawl...but it's still progress of some sort and I can still say I've started the race.

Hopefully that makes sense...I think this is one of those things that sounds better in my head than it does "on paper." lol


I've been slacking with the grateful thing lately. To be perfectly honest it's been hard for me to come up with stuff. Not that the world has changed that much, but sometimes it's just really really hard to look outside my immediate self...especially when things are so crazy. For now I'm thankful for the internet. I'm sure I spend waaaay too much time on it but I have learned so much and gotten so much help and support through people I have connected to online. It's given me an outlet when I truly thought I was alone in the world. It's also provided hours of mindless entertainment which distracts me just enough to keep me from panic attacks and flashbacks without leaving me frustrated. And it's given me this place to express myself and feel heard, without having to immediately say these things out loud to a therapist or anyone else. Yay.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Once upon a time...

About 7 years ago I started seeing a therapist. This was a big, crazy new thing for me.

I'd been to therapy before...but it had always been in childhood (teenagerhood?) and forced on me so I didn't care much or try very hard. But this time I was paying for it (w/the help of a church group) and it meant so much more. I wanted to do well and have it be worth it. I worked my butt off for that woman. Of course, working my butt off meant merely being willing to sit in a room and talk, but I did that. We didn't talk about the big stuff....mostly because back then I didn't realize that the "big stuff" was all that big or really needed talking about.

Just shy of a year of working with this woman, stuff got bad in my life. I honestly don't remember exactly what was going on, but the emptiness was creeping in and I started getting "creative" with my medications. Word got to my therapist that I was doing this, including one time where she ended up calling an ambulance because there was question if I had OD'ed to a dangerous level. (One of the problems with the whole church group funded thing...way too many connections and ppl passing on news to therapist that she shouldn't have known...and I have a suspicion her telling others some stuff as well.)

A session soon after the ambulance thing she left me absolutely floored. She told me, "This isn't working anymore. I don't want to call any more ambulances." She was kicking me out, just like that. I'm sure I'm shortening what she said a bit, but it was very quick like that and I remember the "i don't want to call anymore ambulances" line very, very well. We didn't even have a full session that day. She didn't give me any referrals or help me get in anywhere else. She really didn't even give me any suggestions. After a year of working with her, suddenly it was over. I guess she thought I wasn't willing to try or not being open enough...or that I didn't care. I was absolutely crushed because I was finally starting to really trust somebody. I had finally let someone in...let someone know some of the deep down secrets of me....and here she was able to hurt me just like i'd feared. (At the time I couldn't rationalize all that...i only knew it hurt. But I walked out stone cold saying "ok so be it." I wasn't that open yet).

It took 5 years after that before I would even consider seeing another therapist. For a long time every time I tried I'd only make it through a few weeks at best, before the fear of that hurt came back to me. By the time this summer rolled around and I knew I really needed would make me physically sick to walk into a therapist's office. Every intake I did scared the hell out of me and I had to fight just to keep my insides inside. I could barely say a word. In fact I said so little at one that my 1.5 hour allotted session was done in barely 45 min.

I tell this story because it still impacts the way I think about therapy of any sort, and what I expect from these sorts of relationships (or maybe relationships in general). I know that I see rejection because I expect it. I know that every perceived slight...every unreturned call, any lack of expressing appreciation for me being there, any accidental forgetfulness towards me, etc. look like rejection to me. I try my best to tell myself that these are generally accidents or misunderstandings, so that I can be willing to keep trying and believe they'll still help me.

Yesterday's conversation with my t brought up all these thoughts and fears to a very intense level. There was a lot of scary, uncomfortable, rejection-like thoughts. He said things like...if i can't make it to appt's then this level of care is not right for me and I need to be discharged to somewhere else. And that maybe it would be better for me to not be in the iop. And that maybe I need an inpatient program instead. And maybe I need a different therapist. It all felt painfully accusatory to me.

Frankly I think it was bad counseling on his part. I came to him telling him i was desperate and he started an unbelievable number of statements with, "You..." I said it felt like he and others there weren't offering me the help with how to deal with this stuff, but were instead just waiting and then "punishing" when I did wrong. He said it's not meant to be punishment and I know that....but I felt I was being pushed away and told that I was wrong and it terrified me. Yes this stuff is hard for me sometimes and i push it away, but I don't want to lose it. I'm terrified now that they are going to suddenly walk away from me too.

I made it to iop today mainly because I was afraid they'd kick me out if I didn't. I took my time on my way there...even stopping for snacks on the way (because I needed cash for parking money...I really did...but there were other much quicker ways I could've done it...) and waiting in the long check-in line when I know full well I can skip that.

Turns out i'd forgotten today was a craft day so by the time I got in there I'd pretty much missed the whole talking part. It's kind of a bummer bc ppl brought poems they wrote and that would've been fun to hear. I brought a poem but when i realized they wanted me to read it out loud I said no way. Stupidface asked if I wanted to share anything else and I said no. He respected that...thank god. He kept me back afterwards to talk while everyone else went to crafts. We talked a little about my fear and emotions and all that. He said he doesn't think there's any danger of me being kicked out of iop and he doesn't think the thought of the program not working for me is exactly true, even though some of my behavior says that. Basically the conclusion we came to is that i'm terrified of everything. (No new news there, but it re-enforced just how much so. He started describing the physical symptoms of fear/terror and I realized that's how I feel all the time. Not exaggerating. He wants me to try to focus on the behaviors for now and not worry so much about the feelings. Basically, suck it up and get myself to iop no matter how scared i am...and if I need to sit there and cry the whole time then so be it. I told him I hate to cry in front of people. He basically said get over it. lol

I'm not really sure how I feel right now. I wish the thoughts would slow down long enough that I could make sense of one at a time. It's like as soon as one starts to make sense at all the others race in and fill in the gaps so i'm just as confused. I'm sure there's progress being made on all of them, but I just keep feeling like I'm tearing my hair out. Ugh. And also, every time I start to see where these feelings are coming from it makes me realize just how far I have to go to make them better.

After talking to Stupidface I had to go to the lab for a blood draw for a med check. Because of past experiences I HATE needles. Really any sort of medical environment but especially needles. I had to wait a long time so lots of additional panic w/that but once I finally got in the girl who did it was amazing and did it super fast and almost pain free. I'm working on relaxing from that now. It took so long I didn't make it to any of the iop craft time. I did want to go at least say hi to everyone cus I was really only in the group for like 5-10 min...but maybe it's better to not have to do too much talkin w/them just yet.

So that's where I sit now. Waiting for the next group to start. I will still be going to the afternoon art group...mainly because I have a t appt. after that anyway. More than anything I just want to go home and go back to bed...mostly all I've been doing this week. But I'm doing what I can to stick it out and stay here.

Another day...continuing the fight...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Not tonight

I have so so much in my head I need to get out but I'm just too tired and don't have the words for it right now. The short version is I missed class again today. I called t (proud of myself for that) bc I was starting to worry this was getting really unhealthy. Appt did not go well...turned into a very heated discussion and us seeing my treatment way differently. I stood up for myself but it was unbelievably hard on me. My emotions have been going haywire. The fear thing is also on high alert. I'm terrified about going to iop tomorrow because all of this stuff feels terrifying...but i've basically been told if i don't go I could be removed from the iop group. Though i'm scared of it right now that would definitely not be good. I don't like bein "forced" to talk bout stuff in a group, but there are ppl in the group who are the first ppl i've felt close to in a long time, and as my real self.

There's also a distinct possibility I'll be getting a new t soon. If the change does happen I think it will be for the better. My t is a nice guy but it's like we're on a different planet when it gets down to talking about stuff. He seems to have no clue how to help me and is expecting me to do things there's just no way I can do.

I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight and figure out how to get myself to iop tomorrow w/out panicking.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Worthless blob of somebody

Not much new to report update wise. Today was so hard, and the shit list stands. I do have one item for it that I can't believe I forgot though.

Holidays. Everyone gets stressed around the holidays. That's compounded when you're being bashed over the head with the idea of happy family again and again and you don't have a family to turn to. Basically it just sucks all the way around and its a huge trigger. I know that's putting me on edge as well. It doesn't generally get really bad for me until further into december, but I think the edginess is coming from knowing what is coming.

Now then...I skipped iop today. I don't regret it, but I missed the group members a lot. I just couldn't picture how me cryin about being lonely but too scared to let people in to a group of people i'm too scared to let in could possibly end well. Stupidface is really good at getting ppl talking. Almost too good. I need to process this stuff for myself before I face the group with it. Passing really isn't an option, so I was afraid.

I left a message for stupidface last night telling him that I most likely wouldn't make it this morning. I told him I was having a freak out time where everything seemed scary, and that because of that i'd missed class and t appt yesterday and would likely miss iop today. I also told him I was beyond overwhelmed w/shit. I told him he could call me back if he wanted, but I expected him to. He didn't last time but I asked about it and told him that i'd really wanted/needed a call back. This time I was very direct in the fact that I was missing group because I'm not ok. Period. I expected him to call out of concern and am rather pissed that he didn't. I understand that I'm supposed to be asking for help and all that....but obviously I have a lot of shit going on or I wouldn't be in this program! Sometimes I just need a little extra reaching out from their end. Then again, it's moves like this that give Stupidface his name...and apparently once a stupidface, always a stupidface. I was surprised at just how much I missed the group though. I thought about all of them a lot and how I really wanted to see them. I almost went and hung out in the lobby area just so I could talk to them at break. Had I woken up a bit earlier i prob. would've gone and said hi and then left or something, but I was actually sleeping this morning which was a huge plus.

So most of today was spent hiding out in my apartment doing anything and everything I could to keep the cravings at bay. It's a big catch 22. If I go out somewhere and do something I'll likely distract myself and feel better, but it also makes it easier to go to the liquor store. Staying home I can't drink bc there's no alcohol here, but it's prob. not the healthiest thing either. I think it was a pretty good day for me for processing stuff though. I'm coming to grips with just how alone and lonely I really am. Now that I've had a taste of what good feels like, and what connecting w/ppl feels's like a tiny little drop in the bucket where I didn't know there was a bucket before. I've seen what there can be now, but I've also seen the vast amount of empty space...and it's debilitatingly scary and painful.

But something good did happen today. Two things actually. This morning I got a text from a friend saying that she was having a tough time and asking if I could be there w/her for a bit so she wasn't alone. Even though I was in the midst of my personal crisis and panic, it was striking to me that I could actually do something meaningful for her. I felt myself calm down in being able to help, even though my words felt few and far between because my of my own struggles. She thanked me for being there w/her and said it helped.

This evening someone that I met in my dbt group texted me. I've mentioned this girl before. 2 weeks ago she asked if there was a hotline or anything to call when we feel like drinking. Dr. dbt asked her if she had family or friends to call and she said no. I felt the pain and awkwardness in that answer because I know so well how much it sucks to have to say no I don't have any family that supports I don't have any friends here...yes I'm alone. It's painful and shameful to admit. I felt for her so much in that moment that i pulled out a piece of paper and put my number on it to give to her after group. I told her that I understood the aloneness thing and that she could call me any time she needed to. Yeah, way out of character for me, I know. I just felt a connection. Apparently awkward for her as well, cus she gave me her number but then said "um yeah maybe we can start with texting."

Anyway, tonight she texted. For one think, I'm just so freakin proud of her for doing it! I have had multiple ppl give me their numbers and I have yet to be able to reach out to any of them. She wasn't there at dbt on mon. so I've been worried about her and wanting to check on her, but I couldn't make my fingers do the dialing (or texting). So it just made my heart feel so good to see that she'd been successful in reaching out to someone. I also felt proud that she'd chosen me. She'd managed to reach out and she chose me and trusted me....big for both of us. I felt a surge of energy while I was talking to her.

Afterwards I just kept thinking "she chose me." I don't mean that in the sense of being picked over others. What I mean is that I know how unbelievably scary it is to reach out to someone from this position. But in some way I was able to make her feel comfortable enough that she could. There was a connection there, and something good happened because of me. And that's where the title of this post comes in. For both of these people today, I was an important somebody. For whatever reason, they needed me....not just a person but actually me....and because I was there something good happened. It made me realize that I am somebody, and though I may feel (and be) so so alone, I have something to offer the world....even in my oh so screwed up state. So I'm making some baby steps away from the worthless blob of nothingness feelings that I've been having so much lately. I can't see past the worthless blob right now, but today I was somebody. I feel silly to write it, but i can physically feel it in my heart. I feel a spot that's not hardened, angry, and terrified.

Ok away from the sappiness and metaphors before I hurt myself! lol

Somewhere during the day today I decided I needed to find some safe human contact. I think more than anything I wanted to distance myself from the sharp objects in my house. I decided that the best way to do this would be an AA meeting. It's funny, I remember there being a whole big discussion with myself about why I needed to do this, but when it came closer to time I couldn't remember for the life of me why I decided that. I still can't. I guess it was just one of those meant to be kinds of things. I found out that there's a meeting on wednesday night that's like 5 min. away from me. I tried to get there early and found the building no problem....but got lost in the maze of rooms in this place and still ended up late. But still only by about 5 min. :) My entrance was definitely a moment of awkwardness bc the group was all much older ppl who all seemed to know each other well. I was the obvious sore thumb and instant center of attention. I introduced myself very awkwardly and said i was new to all this. I told them I'd only been to a couple meetings and they said oh, well usually when we have a newcomer come in we scrap the plans for the meeting (in this case a big book study) and talk about our experiences and what's worked for us and give advice. The chair asked the group what they wanted to do (about 10 ppl total, btw). In my head I'm thinking "oh god no! worst idea ever! please please please PLEASE don't make me center of attention any more than I already am!" Thankfully I was able to get out an "I'm ok with the book thing," before anyone else had the chance to speak. I've never even actually seen the AA Big Book (It's the book of stories and basic teachings and stuff for AA that's been around forever...and has the most creative title so I was intrigued by it anyway. (oooh and i did get to take a copy of my very own home at the end of the night! lol)

I liked this meeting MUCH better than the others I'd been to. People were actually talking and having conversations with each other. I mean there was still the structure of a meeting, but ppl were responding to what others were saying, laughing, adding little comments, etc. It felt like a group of friends gathered together to hang out and happen to have this one common topic to discuss. I actually caught myself smiling and laughing a few times. And I was able to talk some. It just seemed natural....someone was talking about sleep issues in early sobriety and I started nodding...another woman looked towards me and said "have you had that?" and I said "oh yeah!" and a few ppl threw in things about sleeping or whatever. I guess it felt like a very structured conversation, but not that whole awkward you're on the spot now, and now you're done, without any feedback from the rest of the group. We were going around the table each person reading a bit and talkin about what it meant to them and then other ppl could comment. The guy next to me decided he was going to do a little of the give me advice thing. He said the best thing he heard in AA when he started coming was that you never have to be alone again, and how true that was. Holy sobfest! If only he knew the total freakout I'd been having all day long about how alone I've become and how lonely and isolated I am. There was no hope of containing it so everyone added their agreements and what not and someone put a hand on my shoulder for a sec while I cried (and I mostly didn't freak out...yay!). In the midst of it all someone said "welcome home." Yeah so not helping to stop the tears!

They gave me a list of phone numbers, but that always seems weird bc it's a typed out list for the group. I have no idea who is who or even for sure who was at the meeting from that list! But afterwards one of the women asked if i'd feel ok giving my number to them so they could call me. That was like the big TA DA! moment with the gleam of light and the eventful music behind it that you see in cartoons (and I so hope at least someone out there watches cartoons as much as i do and gets some of these I KNOW I don't have the ability to call ppl I've only met for an hour and only in a structured meeting situation. Hell I still can't call iop ppl. But I have been wanting so so badly to have some contact w/someone. The women in this meeting seemed so nice. They all struck me as grandma types. So by the end I really felt like I had a group of grandma's looking out for me. A couple of them came to hug me at the end. They asked first which was so helpful, and I was able to do a couple of hugs and feel ok. I really do like hugs deep down, I've just hit a place in my head where they've also started to scare the shit outta me...especially when I'm already feeling so weak. So here's hoping that my grandmas will call. I really do want them to...they're just the kind of ppl i've been hoping to meet right now. (For some reason right now I'm absolutely terrified of my peers and want nothing to do with them at all if I can help it, but I've been so badly wanting a mothering type to the point that i want to ask random ppl i see on the street who look nice....but that's a whole other can of worms for another time!).

As I think back over tonight...everything fits. I talked a lot tonight. I was more relaxed because I just admitted i was clueless and worried less about trying to follow their structure and protocol or whatever. I was even able to volunteer some of my own information besides just answering questions (i talked bout how emotional i've been getting lately...not that that wasn't already obvious! lol So for a shitty day, it ended itself rather well. And it timed itself rather perfectly. I made it to the meeting and then right as I got back from that my dbt friend texted. If she had texted during the meeting I wouldn't have been able to answer it.

Oh and I forgot to add at the end of my conversation w/dbt friend she was so super nice. She told me she was proud of me for staying sober and not hurting myself (she remembered that I have an issue w/that too) despite everything that was going on...she thanked me for listening and not judging and said she enjoyed talking to me and felt like she has a friend in me. She also told me to text her any time. I told her I was really impressed w/her for texting. She said she'd been workin on it for days! lol


I'm too scared to write that i'm grateful for any of what I wrote above because it just seems like too much potential to go wrong. Or something. So I'm grateful for starbursts. They make me happy and they totally hit the spot sugar craving wise today.

I'm also grateful for pushups. I've been making myself do pushups until I'm too tired to move and too tired to think when I start having the "craving" for cutting. It fulfills the "need to hurt" feeling and gets enough endorphins going to get me through the moment. I did A LOT yesterday. So many I had to switch to situps because my arms couldn't hold me up anymore. I'm sore today, but it's a good sore.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life is shit

I'm not using that title to be over dramatic or attention seeking or whatever else. I'm supposed to be honest about how I'm feeling and frankly right now it's all just shit. The less than helpful dbt class never got as far as telling me if this is over thinking the bad or a healthy way to cope with the anger. For now I don't care. I feel the need to write a list of what makes my life shitty so that's what I'm going to do. If you're looking for unicorns and rainbows feel free to skip this post. Now then...the list.

Penn State - I'm so fucking sick of seeing coverage of this on every tv channel, in every other form of media, and in every conversation.. I didn't realize how much it was bothering me until I read someone else's response to it. I think it's a big part of why I've been struggling so much lately. Even though what happened there is so different from what happened to me, having sometimes graphic SA stuff around me all the time can't be healthy. I should be feeling for the victims and all that and concerned for them but right now I need to be selfish. I just want this constant stream of triggers off.

Speaking of feeling crappy, it's been hell for me lately. I didn't sleep last night at all. But even when awake I couldn't do anything. I was stuck all day today. Stuck drowning under a sea of crap that needs to be done that I can't do. I could barely get out of bed, and even then it was only to force myself to eat something.

And in the meantime I've had friends from my winter job and other places calling to say hi...asking how my summer was. What the fuck am I supposed to tell them? "Yeah I almost died. Now I'm in therapy like it's my full time job. You?" But saying, "Well I finished my summer job and now I'm focusing on school," while true, seems trite and useless. I hate that no one in my world knows what it feels like inside right now, but yet I also really don't need everyone around me knowing too much. That's especially true w/my winter job ppl because that's a small town and an even smaller work all news travels.

I missed class today. I really can't afford to miss this class anymore. My professor knows what I'm going through but I've already missed an insane number of classes so this looks bad. But I just couldn't do it. And I hate that I couldn't do it. It felt like pre-hospital stuff. I knew what I wanted to do. I could even visualize myself doing it. But I couldn't make it happen. On the one hand it's "just a class" but its meaning is more than that.

I skipped my therapy appt too. Same deal as with class but more important. I just couldn't do it. I called my t to tell him I couldn't make it on time. I'd hoped he would insist on me coming in anyway or finding a time in the near future, but instead he said just to wait till next week. Granted I didn't tell him how awful I felt, though he commented that I didn't sound good. He asked if I was ok and I said sort of.

On that note I hate that I don't have a t that gets me and really gets what I need. My t helps me somewhat but then he also reminds me regularly that he's not really meant to be my therapist...he's the treatment coordinator helping me to get sober so I can get to the "real" therapy where I can really start to work through stuff. I get this to an extent but sometimes I need to talk about stuff beyond just don't drink. And I need him to be more aware of this crap going on with me though I don't know how to explain it.

And on that note..I'm getting ready to give up my beloved winter job so that I can keep working with these people. Ugh! Wtf? I'm giving them my everything and they're giving me band-aids and a repetitive message not to drink. It hasn't all been useless but my winter job is fun, great pay, and great social community....just very limited therapy availability. If I stay here just for the therapy even though I'm unemployed and away from my "happy place," and then the therapy sucks...there's just no right decision here! I understand building the foundation first but damnit. I need help! Somebody help me. I've done enough pushing stuff aside my whole life. Give me something.

Oh, and stop telling me what to do or what not to do (even worse) and please start telling me how to do something! Please! All the professionals in my life are giving me the list of how not to handle things. Or the perfect world scenario of how something should I should handle it. But no one is helping me with what to do in the moment. No one is giving me anything for when I feel like shit and I'm sick and tired and I just want to cause pain to myself or numb my brain in any way possible.

I hate that this SI (cutting) thing has come back so fucking strong. I hate that I spent a good chunk of today dreaming with a frighteningly obsessive passion about what it would feel like when it broke the skin. It was far stronger than any cravings to drink. I couldn't get my mind off of it and I felt out of control. I need to talk this through with someone but I don't know where or how.

I hate that if I tell them how out of control I felt, even though I didn't cut, that I may end up inpatient.

I hate how much I love my wounds because they make my outside ugly like my inside feels. I hate that I'm sad that they're healing.

I hate that I can't remove all sharp objects from my apartment the way I can with alcohol.

I hate that no one at this clinic seems to have any idea what to do with me with the cutting.

I hate that I can't speak up about it more.

On that note I'm just so tired of being alone...of having people near me but not with me. I'm sick of being terrified of human contact but it doesn't matter how much I can logically convince myself it's ok.

My sleep is shit. I've had just enough nightmares to remind my body and sub-conscious that sleep is a very scary place to be.

My nightmares are so far beyond bad dreams. I hate hearing the response, "I have bad dreams too." You don't relive horrors of evil people taking your everything away from you.

My body won't sleep. I'm tired all day and then at night it springs back to awake. It fights sleep tooth and nail and won't let me drift off. Because drifting off might as well be walkin back in to the scary place. I'm getting much better at controlling my thoughts during the day and staying grounded away from the scary stuff. At night I give up my power.

I can't sleep, but I can't function without sleep. Hence the shittiness. I can't focus. I can't complete a thought. I also can't rest, even for a moment. I can zone out, but that's about it.

But the worst of it all is this horrid, indescribable pain that I feel on an almost constant basis. My life hurts. It hurts my body physically. It hurts inside to the point that I'm so tied up in knots I can no longer function. There aren't words for it, but it's a pain like nothing else. And I hate that people would tell me to just not think about it. I'd give anything to not think about it. I'm so fucking sick of hurting.


Since I said i'd put a grateful thingy at the end of every post I guess I'll do it here too. I'm grateful for learning how to yell. I've always turned anger inward, no matter what it's about, and ended up hurting myself in some way rather than expressing it. Yelling feels good. Frankly, being pissed feels really good, but i'm guessing dr. dbt wouldn't like that.


Can't deal with this stuff right now. Not good.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Mondays are long, but generally good days for me. They start with iop, then dbt, and then usually an appt with the dr. (In theory I'll eventually be stable enough with meds that he won't need to see me every week. Hasn't happened yet, but I like the dr. so it's ok.) Really I like all of these groups. But there's generally some recovery from the weekend happening as well, making at least the morning really a challenge to find my footing again.

During iop this morning I talked about how much I'm struggling with everything seeming to be in opposition. About wanting the attention and love from people so badly, and yet being absolutely terrified to accept it I also mentioned that I had a meltdown on saturday while talking to a good friend, and that while it was painful it felt so so good because I was finally able to cry. I've been holding on to so much sadness that just needed a way out. It was a huge relief to let out the tears (and there were many!). We talked a bit more about how it's hard to make sense of emotions and how to process them. I was really looking forward to dbt group though, because that's what dbt is generally all about.

At the start of dbt, I told the dbt dr. my situation and what I was struggling with. Being a typical shrink, there was no short answer. He turned the question in to the discussion for the day. At first I really liked what he was saying. He talked about how pain is inevitable, but we increase our suffering (or its duration) by getting caught up in why something happened or how a person could do what they did. He drew a circle on the white board for each of us and we drew circles around it based on what occupies our thoughts. The bigger the circle, the more thoughts it occupies. For me, right now, thoughts of my past and the emotions that go with it is the biggest circle by quite a bit. My focus on alcohol is the next biggest. Daily life and the fear surrounding it was a smaller circle, and school was the smallest. I wish school occupied more of my thoughts. I'd do a lot better and be way less behind if I could shift my thoughts away from memories and drinking and all that and on to school and homework. I really liked the visual of what I actually do with my thoughts, and the thought that the circles we feed will grow until they eventually take over the others.

We talked a bit about what makes circles bigger or smaller, but dbt dr. kept referring to "finding a healthy way to grieve" without really elaborating. I kept thinking he was getting to that but we ended up on a HUGE tangent about how addictions get started, missing the high feeling, and whether you can be addicted to a person/relationship. I was waiting for it to come back to the original question....because he never did give me any idea what to do with all the emotions, but the next thing I knew he was saying we were out of time and asking for final questions. I had realized just before that that we were going to spend the rest of the time talking about this tangent that was of no help to me (yeah, i'm sue me) and I felt the frustration welling up inside me. Before I knew it I was sobbing. Of course, that led everyone to look at me. He asked what was wrong and I unleashed. I cried/yelled at him that he never answered my original question...that i still had no idea what to do when the thoughts and emotions came...and that all he'd told us is what not to do, not what to do. (There was some good advice about what to avoid in order to keep the circles from growing...avoiding comparing, repeating of frustrations/resentment, etc.). He essentially said that I just needed to have it occupy my mind less. I just love thinking about this shit and want nothing more than to contemplate it more! I take responsibility for spending a great deal of time wanting to know why it happened, and how they could hurt me like they did. I know that's counterproductive and I'm working to do that less. When he said to think about it less I said what I'd been trying to say from the start...that I don't understand how to deal with the grief and I feel like putting it out of my mind is wrong. I feel like I have a right and a need to grieve for my lost childhood. I compared it to grieving for a lost loved one, as we'd been talking about that earlier. He said "Well that's for someone who has lost someone, or been assaulted, or had trauma in the here and now. This was something in your CHILDHOOD!" I was livid. I grabbed my stuff and said "I need to go," and walked out right in the middle of someone's sentence. (Other ppl from the group had been commenting as well...not just me and dbt dr.). And I really did need to go...the group had gone late and I was late for my dr. appt.

I probably should feel bad for yelling...and embarrassed for losing it in a group...or something like that. But damnit I don't. At all. It felt soooooo good! The emotions are all in there, and it felt damn good to release them. It was like a crazy emotional high that lasted for quite a while. I don't know if he meant what he said the way it came out...or the way it sounded to me...but I feel it's absolutely wrong for a shrink to essentially tell someone to "just get over" past trauma. I mean really??!! This is the group where I've been open about my flashbacks and panic attacks and all the pain they're causing me. I thought he, if anyone, would get that it's not so simple. I know it's all a process and all that, but it just pisses me off to have someone tell me not to think about something that's been such a big part of my life. It's embarrassing enough to have to admit that it still haunts me like it does! I so so badly want to move past it and not think about it any more!

So after all of this, and a very shortened appt with the dr....I ran into Stupidface in the hallway. We said a brief hi and chatted for a sec, and then had that awkward moment where we both reached for our separate doors but hesitated a minute before going through them. I wanted to tell him about my yelling because I felt like someone needed to hear...not to mention word travels very, very fast in this place...part of the whole comprehensive treatment thing. I think he sensed that I had something more to tell him so he hesitated as well. I blurted out, "I just went to dbt and I yelled at dr. ________. I really didn't like what he said so first I cried and then I yelled at him."

And Stupidface....I know we've had our issues but I could not have loved him any more in this moment. A smile crept over his face. He chuckled a bit and said, "Good for you River. Good for you." :) Then we both laughed and I made a silly comment about emotional release and then we both went our separate ways. So yes I was a bit of a troublemaker, but I LOVE that Stupidface knew how much I've been struggling with emotional release and didn't once get upset with me or concerned or worried. He didn't ask to know why I'd yelled. He just told me he was proud. It made me very happy and frankly I'm still feeling very good about it all. I'm not sure if I'll hear about it in t tomorrow. Sometimes word travels fast, other times not as much. But I stood up for me. And that's good. (Ironically...I just realized that one of our questions for iop this morning was to name a skill that's important in recovery. I replied with, "The ability to speak up for myself and my needs." And then went on to say it was something that I really couldn't do at this point. lol)

I never thought I'd say it, but today I'm grateful for Stupidface. He could not have handled the situation better.

I also had a moment of gratefulness during my lunch break today. I was walking back from where I'd gone for food, and I was looking up at the windows of the hospital. (The clinic I go to is on the same campus, but in a different building from the main hospital.) I looked up at the windows that I would've been looking out when I was inpatient. I remember staring out those windows for so long, thinking, "What I wouldn't give for a chance to step outside, even just for a moment. I'd give anything to walk outside, breathe a breath of fresh air, and hug a tree." In that moment there was absolutely nothing I wanted more than the freedom for a short walk outside. Today I was taking that walk, and was reminded of what a blessing it is.

Oh...and random follow-up note. As of today I'm back on Antabuse. My dr. wasn't sure if it's a good idea since I'm already on a lot of meds, but I asked to continue with it because I'm concerned about the holidays...both their affect on me and the higher prevalence of alcohol that seems to be everywhere at holiday times.

Sunday, November 13, 2011


In all the confusion of the last post (ha ha i'm so funny) I broke my own rule and didn't have anything I'm grateful for. Well, I'm grateful for a lot of things, but I didn't write any down. Today I'm most grateful for all of blog readers. You all give me an outlet to deal with the crap in my life, as well as a "practice" in opening up about myself. I still struggle a lot to do that in person but knowing that I'm letting it out to someone helps me build towards saying it out loud to someone face to face.

And just for fun...a quick funny story. I made bread yesterday...rolls actually. Today I realized how out of it I still am in life because I couldn't find them today. I thought i'd put them in the fridge but I didn't see them there. I dug around on the counter and then started questioning whether I could've eaten all of them last night. Then I started checking drawers, the freezer, etc. because lately I've been finding stuff in all sorts of places I never meant to put it. I eventually found them. In the fridge where I thought they were. I just managed to overlook them. But of course my first thought wasn't, "am I overlooking them?" but instead "Did I eat them all?" and "Perhaps I tucked them in the utensil drawer?" lol


My brain is fucked up.

Yeah I know, no big news there.

I went to an AA meeting this morning. It was totally different than the others I'd been to. It was way more casual and more like a conversation (probably bc there were only 6 ppl there total!) I find AA meetings to be really weird because someone speaks and pours their heart out, everyone thanks them, and then someone else starts talking about something completely different. Ok not necessarily completely different, but there's no chance to reply and help the person who talked.

But that's beside the point right now. I realized something through the meeting and my drive home after. I realized that I'm terrified to be successful because I don't want people to stop caring about me. I know that probably sounds ridiculous written here...but AA focuses hugely on the newcomer. They ask at the start of every meeting who is w/in the first 30 days of sobriety to welcome them. I realized this morning that if/when I make it successfully to 30 days and beyond that I'm gonna go back to being one of many and not be loved. I feel when I write this now that it sounds very self centered and maybe a little silly, but it's a very strong feeling right now.'s because I never learned how to build relationships. I've always gotten attention from manipulating pity and people's sense of caring for the "needy." Even as a kid I was a pro at crying on demand when I needed it to get something (not from my parents...I would never cry in front of them..but for others in my world.

Anyway, the additionally fucked up thing about all of this is that even though i'm terrified of losing this attention and caring I'm also too scared to accept it. At the end of the meeting today they offered the last few minutes for me to share something if I wanted. This is the kind of opportunity I've wanted to have because I need to be heard, but I was so scared I couldn't say a word. Granted I'd been crying throughout the whole meeting (was on a very close to home type topic)...had thankfully kept from the full on sobs but was still more than a little overwhelmed. I was able to get enough words out to answer a few questions about how long i'd been sober and if I was doing ok physically with withdrawals and all that. Afterwards ppl continued to be really me their phone numbers, trying to start conversations, etc. They even mentioned that there was breakfast available downstairs in the building that they were going to. I really wanted breakfast, it was affordable, and I've been desperate for some level of individual contact in meetings (most that I've been to have at least 20 ppl so I'm overwhelmed...turns out it's not the number that makes me overwhelmed!). But in the moment all I could think about was getting out of there. I realized I was nodding my head and hoping to get the right kind of nod while getting closer to the door and getting out of there. Then I spent the drive home frustrated with myself, sad and lonely, and also terrified of what might happen if I succeed. So yeah...a bit on the fucked up side. lol

I also realized today part of the reason why I'm so, so freaked out by AA. When I go to AA, it has to be as my real self. It hits too close to home to pull the pretend to be ok and smile on the surface act. Not to mention my real self has gotten so close to the surface that it doesn't hide well anyway! I handle it ok at IOP and the hospital groups for a couple reasons. First off, I feel a strong sense of ownership w/iop. I was talkin bout it with another IOP'er who is as shy as I am with AA meetings. We know each other in IOP and know we're in a similar place. True AA folks are in a similar place too, but IOP is the same ppl every time and you learn their stories and you get used to each other. Also, with all the groups through the hospital clinic, it's just a known environment. You start to see the same people around, and you know that others there have been through a lot too or they wouldn't be there. In both the IOP and the dbt group at the clinic it's hard to shut me up! lol Hopefully I can get to that point w/AA. Ok maybe not the can't shut up part...but at least to the point of being able to say what I need to say.

I guess that's all for now. Still have a lot to figure out but at least i'm starting to see some of what the issues are.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Long day

Just talked to my dad. He's doing very well. The doctors are very happy with how everything went, and for now he's not in much pain (though he's on very heavy duty drugs). He was surprisingly coherent and seemed in good spirits. He'll be in the hospital overnight to make sure the pain stays under control and then he should be discharged tomorrow. I've been so so worried about him, so it's good to get the good news.

On that emotions are going haywire lately. Not that there's anything wrong or weird about being worried about someone having surgery, but I've been sick to my stomach, panicked, and just terrified for he was having open heart surgery or something. That's just how everything in my life is right now. The going theory is that because I'm so used to not feeling...through drinking or other methods of keeping people and emotions out...that now that I'm finally really opening myself up to the world it all seems huge and I have no idea how to handle it. It's not all bad either. A lot of it is fear and sadness, but sometimes i'm overwhelmed with good emotions too. At the end of iop I stayed and talked to Stupidface for a bit so I could show him what I wrote in my journal. He and I got to talking about my accepting my fear and all the new realizations in my life. It also came up in iop today that while someone else was talking about hating himself I realized that for the first time in a long, long time I actually didn't feel like I hated myself. I'm the queen of self-hatred so realizing I didn't feel those feelings of hatred, at least at that moment, was huge. So, while talking to Stupidface after iop I was in tears over how good things are and how big the changes are in my life. Also, how real it feels this time...about how i'm building a real foundation now and not just pretending to be happy or trying to convince myself i'm happy through the pain and denial.

I'm definitely noticing that underneath all the struggles there's a definite positive trend right now. My life is still very hard right now, but I feel like deep down there's something good and i'm moving up rather than deeper into the black hole. So, today was a constant cycle through one intense emotion after sad the weight of the world is on my so scared I can't so lonely I want to walk up to random strangers and ask for hugs (though I still can't ask for hugs from friends..not there so overwhelmed by the beauty of the world it brings me to tears...etc. etc. I realize that in the big picture this is a good thing and that it's progress. I also realize that it's something I'm going to have to learn. Eventually I'm going to have to learn how to deal with emotions and process them without trying to shove them away. But for now, it's exhausting. Every minute and every emotion feels like huge amounts of work. Imagine a time when you've had a really strong emotion...and then imagine that going on all the time. So now I'm pretty much too tired to think. But I'm not dreading this weekend quite as much as I have other weekends so that's a plus. Went to an AA meeting today and most of the topic was around staying in the moment and remembering that everything will eventually pass. I had some major cravings this evening as I got home...but I stuck it out and am feeling better now. Exhausted, but better.

I'm grateful that my dad is doing so well tonight. I'm also grateful for visible progress in my life.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Requesting your prayers and positive thoughts please

Tomorrow morning my foster dad goes in for some pretty major surgery on his foot. A few months ago he tore a tendon in his ankle and the doctors found that because of an issue with his foot, if they just repaired the tendon it would be very likely to tear again. So tomorrow he's having his foot reconstructed, or reshaped, or something like that. I forget the official name but it's a big deal and there's lots of things that could go wrong. It's already going to be hard on him because it will be a long recovery and he's a very active guy, but there's a potential for more work needing to be done. So if you could please keep him in your thoughts I would really appreciate it.

I am so so grateful for having my foster dad in my life. He's kind of the unsung hero of my whole foster experience. My foster mom did all the immediate "work," but my dad was and is truly a hero. He showed incredible patience when I was living there and going through my intense dad-phobia. He was always kind but never pushed me to accept him or be comfortable around him before I was ready. Looking back I can't imagine how hard that must've been on him to have a daughter in the house who refused to have anything to do with him or any closeness to him. But he never got upset with me about it.

When I had my big breakdown last spring and had to call my foster mom to rescue me...I was so flipped out by scary new memories that I couldn't be in the same room as him w/out a panic attack. But he never complained about letting me stay. He also didn't let it bother him, at least not outwardly, when I told him I couldn't face celebrating fathers day with him. He was happy with lunch, not connected to any holiday, later. He just has an amazing amount of patience and just seems to so understand what I need.

He also was the first to show me what a real dad looks like. I will never, ever forget the morning I watched him taking care of my baby sister. She was so so tiny and I knew he was frustrated and exhausted from her screaming. I watched in terror from the doorway...thinking of all of my experiences with what dads do to their little girls and so scared of what I was sure I was about to see. Instead this big man takes this teeny tiny little baby in his arms so gently, rocks her, feeds her a bottle and she quietly settled down. It was just an every day life kind of moment but it meant the world to me and it still brings me to tears to think of it. My dad and I have a pretty good relationship now. I don't think I'll ever be able to really see him as "dad" (though the foster title has been removed long foster parents are my parents in every sense of the word) as my ability to ever be comfortable around a father figure has likely been ruined for eternity. But he reminds me daily that there are good men, good parents, good dads out there. I know he is doing a great job with my little brothers and sisters (not bio related...) and giving them such a much better life than I could've hoped for as a kid. I also know he'd do anything he could to help me.

So yeah...I want to return the favor tomorrow...even if it's just through thoughts and prayers.