Me and My Shadow

A stray neighborhood cat has adopted my brother. He’s such a sweetie pie. I’m a proud auntie.

Billy decided to call him Shadow because he sort of crept out of the shadows and slowly nuzzled up to him.

Shadow will actually come into Billy’s garage/gym and jump up on the bench.

Ordinary People and Good Will Hunting

I was browsing metafilter last night and there was a post in fanfare about the movie, “Ordinary People“. That’s a movie that Dr. D (in Austin) asked me to watch. That was roughly 20 years ago (give or take a year or two)

(Gidgette just crawled up onto my lap and is sitting on my arms. It’s making typing on the laptop quite difficult.)

At the time, it was pretty impactful. I remember us talking about it for a session or two. But I don’t remember what we really talked about.

Back to last night. I decided to see if it was streaming anywhere. Turns out, yes it was, on Amazon Prime Video. As I started watching, the plot came back to me. What hit me this time was how much the mother (Mary Tylor Moore) was obsessed with keeping up appearances. It was all about how the family looked to her friends. January of last year, I talked about that idea with Dr. JD (to differentiate her from Dr. D in Austin), but I know I didn’t really explain it well. I know this because I’ve been journaling daily since 1/1/20 and it gives me on this day in history. When that came up a few weeks ago, I wrote that I wanted to talk about it again. But I never knew how to broach the idea. I think I’ll send her a text to see if she’s seen it. It’ll be a good springboard for the topic.

Around the same time Dr. D asked me to watch “Ordinary People”, he asked me to watch “Good Will Hunting” as well. “Good Will Hunting” hit a lot closer to home, so to speak. I think the scene everyone probably remembers is Will (Matt Damon) and Sean (Robin Williams) in his office as Will is finishing up therapy with Sean because he’s turned 21. You can watch it on YouTube. Just hearing the words, “It’s not your fault.” over and over was hard back circa 2000.

Being a glutton for punishment, I actually bought the digital download and watched it. It surprised me how hard that same scene hit me in 2021. The tears flowed just as freely as they did 20 years ago. I actually journaled about this after watching it. The app I use, Day One (iOS and Mac only), lets me record an audio entry. One of these days, I’ll go back and listen to it. Actually, I might do that before “seeing” Dr. JD on Tuesday.

Therapy Monday

Wow.  Today was intense.  It started with a discussion about Father’s Day.  And all the loving posts you see on Facebook.   And the whole industry we have.  And how it makes me feel.  Jealous.  Green with envy.  I don’t love my  dad, or grandpas, or God father.  Nope.  No way.  And that good old Catholic guilt and “honor thy father and thy mother”.

From there Dr. D asked about something we talked about a few weeks ago.  One of the things I felt was that I lost something of myself with the use of Lupron.  I lost the ability to reproduce.  Not that I want to reproduce.  I read somewhere (maybe on Not My Secret) about defining yourself by what society considers to be the defining traits of a woman.  That post really resonated with me.  So we talked a bit about other ways I could define myself.  Funny.  Blah Blah Blah.  Dr. D said that I was smart.  I couldn’t say no fast enough.  Which of course lead to another whole discussion.

In the end, I said that my mother said I was smart when it suited her, when she got to brag.  Any other time, I was dumb, and idiot, etc.  Then I said something really significant.  I said that I hated her for that.  That was really significant.  I had never said that word before.  I didn’t know how deep it ran.  That scared me.  It felt overwhelming at the moment.  Thank God that Dr. D was there because I was overwhelmed.  I was shaking and crying.  On some level it felt good to let out those emotions.  On the other hand, it was really scary.  I knew I had a safe place in her office.

I tend to stuff things down.  Dr. D told me it was a defense mechanism.  And now that I’m home, the old defenses are coming back.  I don’t feel safe to experiences the anger and sadness that I felt earlier.  At least I know now that I can feel without becoming overwhelmed or out of control.  I was even going to write a blog post in all caps.  I still may.  Maybe I can do it at the library where I feel safer.

It’s amazing how seemingly innocent trains of thought can lead to breakthroughs.  I see Dr. D again on Thursday (and on Mondays too).  I think at this point, that’s what I need.

Pink Pajamas

I’ve tried to write this out many times in the past.  In fact this is the seventh time the post was titled “Pink Pajamas”.  Today is Therapy Thursday and the topic took up a solid half hour.  Me just sitting there trying to get the words out.  Working hard to keep my head in the present.  Posting this is hard even though I just talked about it.  Here goes nothing.

I was 7 or 8 years old.  It was Christmas Eve.  We read the Bible and ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  We hung up our stockings.  It’s a Christmas tradition to get new pajamas on Christmas Eve.  Mine were those one piece pajamas with the feet.  Mine were pink.

It was time to go to bed.  But I was warned that bad little girls got nothing in their stockings.  And I sure that I was a bad little girl.

Later that night, my dad came in and undressed me.  I remembered how cold it was.  He whispered in my ear that he knew how to make me a good girl.  Then he had his way with me.  He didn’t dress me though.  I slept all night naked.

In the morning, my mom came in to wake me up.  She asked why I didn’t have my pajamas on.  I told her I got hot.  I put them on and followed her to the living room.  I guess I was a good girl because my stocking was full and there were presents under the tree.

Dr. D pointed out that things came with strings attached.  And they really did.  That’s the topic for Monday.  I thought in light of everything going on, I should probably see her twice a week for a little while.

Divide

This was the prompt for today.  Sometimes I feel so far apart from other people.  I see it in therapy.  It is issues of trust still.  I’ve worked hard to build trust with Dr. D.  On some levels, I do trust her.  On others, there are some things I’m not ready to tell her.

She has this view that things would get easier if I told my brothers.  We went through this a while ago.  At that time, I did everything I could do to resist her.  Now, it’s not so cut and dry for me.  I think it might help a little.  But I’m not at that point in time yet.  would

I know that they would go strait to the parental unit and ask about it.  I’m not ready to deal with the fall out from that.  I guess I am divided on that idea.

Sometimes I feel so separate from other people.  I feel apart.  I can’t explain it.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.  I would rather read a book than socialize.  I can do the socialization thing, but it’s draining physically and emotionally.

Sometimes I feel divided from other survivors.  Now this I can’t explain.  I don’t know that I want to explain it right now, either.

Signing off for tonight.  I baked cookies and I’m exhausted.  :(

Abandonment

First let me say I was not physically abandoned by my family.  This is true despite it being threatened with being taken to an orphanage and left there.  But developmentally, psychologically…  I was abandoned at an early age.

It was often threatened to be driven to the orphanage when I was young.  On more than one occasion, I was put in the car and was driven around.  All the while, I was being belittled and told that nobody would want me.  I lived in fear of those car rides.

But more than that, I was abandoned when my mother looked the other way.  She knew what my father was doing.  She did nothing to stop it.  She looked the other way.  I had no one to protect me.  My grandmother looked the other way too.  In some ways it didn’t seem as sinister as my mother.  I think she had almost no power when it came to my grandfather.

My parents were simultaneously over-involved and under-involved in school.  On the one hand, bad grades were severely punished and usually involved a message to the teacher asking what happened.  But good grades (what I usually brought home) were ignored.

Abandonment is a tough issue for me.  I’ve learned to rely only on myself.  Not having someone who cared enough to stop blatant abuse scarred me for life.  And trust…  Well that’s a tricky one too.  It all goes down to not having someone who cared and left me to my own devices.

Punishment

It feels like I could never go a week without getting punished for something.  Those rare times when I brought a bad grade home (spelling assignments, I’m looking at you), it seemed the punishment was more severe.  And I wonder where my extreme perfectionism comes from…

Bringing home a bad grade was my worst nightmare.  It was usually followed by the wooden spoon, no dinner and no books.  The dinner and the books, although crappy, weren’t probably abusive.  I can’t say the same about the wooden spoon.

The hitting was almost always done with my shirt on.  She couldn’t risk leaving any marks.  Sometimes it was the spoon base.  But more often than not, it was the handle end.  In some ways, I preferred the spoon end.  It didn’t sting as bad.  And, in my (probably) distorted view, she seemed to tired out more quickly.

It came to the point, I no longer cried.  I laid there, dejected.  Resigned to my fate.  There was no fighting back.  If anything, tears made it all worse.

Thankfully (I guess) I did well in school except for spelling.  I still can’t spell to save my life.  I’m thankful for the invention of spell check, even if I do still stump it.  So school related wooden spoon contact was rare.  Not that there weren’t numerous other things I was punished for.

Creating a Dialogue With Your Inner Young Child

Creating a Dialogue With Your Inner Young Child

From: Cathryn L. Taylor M.A. The Inner Child Workbook

 

1. What is her favorite food?

Fried chicken.  But only her grandmother’s chicken.

2. What is the activity she would most like to do?

Read.  She could read all day and all night.

3. Has she done this before? Is so , what happened? If not, ask why.

She reads all the time.  Her favorite book is still Green Eggs and Ham.  But now she can read it on her own.

4. Ask her to tell you about her fear of being blamed and criticized or of doing or saying something wrong.

She is always afraid of doing something wrong.  She’s terrified she’ll bring home a bad mark on a school paper even though she’s only in Kindergarten.  She’s terrified that she’ll be taken to the orphanage for real this time.  She’s afraid of messing up her dances.  She doesn’t want to disappoint Miss R.

5. Does she feel overly responsible? Why?

Always.  B was just born.  She’s supposed to take care of him when mom is drunk.

6. What does she need most from you?

She needs me to understand that she wasn’t a bad kid.  She was a good kid in a bad situation.

******************************

I’m exhausted now.  I’ll try to finish the remaining questions in the near future.

 

 

 

Father’s Day

Yeah.  Not my favorite day of the year.  But it’s not as bad this year as in the past, even though I’m home rather than on the other side of the globe.  I don’t have the energy for the symptoms.  It’s like my brain and body have made a truce.  My brain will leave me alone so my body can finish healing.

You know, even having finished counseling years ago, I feel closer to making peace with my past.  I can’t change it.  It’s always going to be there, but that was then and this is now.  I don’t mean to say things will always be peachy keen.  But I can keep moving forward.

I’m looking forward to moving to Hong Kong, but part of me wants a regular old job here in the states.  One that will give me health insurance so I don’t have this stress I’m going through right now.  I love teaching, but with my student loan debt going back to school isn’t an option.  I don’t know.  I get more confused as I think about it.

What a Day

Woke up early because I had so much to do today.  Saw an email that said call home.  My Grandmother died.  The one person in my family who wasn’t completely psycho is now gone.  Well, she’s been gone for a couple of year.  Alzheimer’s had robbed her of her memory and in the end, took her body too.

Went to see Dr. P.  Just as I was walking in the office, my left ankle rolled and I ended up on the floor.  Yes, I was a blubbering mess.  He put me in the treatment room so I didn’t have to be around people.  I was so anxious and upset about everything, he decided to do an IV of Valium.  Yay for benzos.  Actually, it’s just a saline (maybe with other stuff, I don’t know) IV and then they inject the Valium through the IV port.  I don’t know why but after about a half hour, I was freezing.  They gave me a blanket.  I kept shivering.  They put another blanket on.  By this time they were concerned I was running a fever.  Nope.  I was just shivering for no reason.  On went blanket number three.  It was not cold in there.  I swear.  When they finally took the IV out and I sat up, the room started to spin.  I held onto the bed for dear life.  So, after roughly two hours I got out of there.

Next stop, Dr. K.  He upped the gabapentin to 1800 mg a day.  Tomorrow I get another round of the trigger point injections.  My neck is killing me.  They concentrated the TENS and the massage on my neck and I was almost crying while she did the massage.    It hurts to have anyone even touch my neck and shoulders.  My pain level is up to about a 7.  Thankfully, the gabapentin makes me sleepy, so combined with Dr. P’s meds I should be able to sleep.

Speaking of Dr. P, he’s got me on Imipramine (as the only antidepressant), Ativan, Valium, and Klonopin.  I don’t have much trouble with anxiety.  And I guess Klonopin can be prescribed as a muscle relaxer because Dr. P told me it can no longer be prescribed for anxiety.  And goodness knows my muscles need relaxed.  I really think I need something else for the depression.  It isn’t doing jack for the fibro and it isn’t doing anything for the depression.  He originally put me on it because it was supposed to help with nightmares.  I have no idea why he took me off the Paxil.  I think I’ll ask him about that next week.  I know I’m charting my moods with a web app, and hitting 30% is indicative of a good day for me.

Then I went to the bank to take care of some stuff.  That was easy enough.

Then I get to work.  Today I had 5 classes, 3 were taking tests, 1 was making ice cream sandwiches and one was basically going to color the whole period because I couldn’t get my brain together enough to actually do a real lesson.  As I’m copying tests, the copier starts making weird noises.  Ugh, the bloody thing is running out of toner.  Why?  Why today of all day?  With some kind words and a bit of shaking of the toner cartridge, I got everything printed out.

So here I sit.  Tomorrow is destined to be crazy as well.  I have to take Gidgette to the vet for her kitty birth control shot so we can get her out of heat.  Yes, she was spayed, but apparently they missed some ovarian tissue.  So I have to take her to the vet, get food and litter while I’m there.  Come home, dump everything and let Gidgette out of her carrier.  Clean myself up as necessary, and go see Dr. K so he can stick needles in me and then go to PT.  Then I get to go to work, grade tests, give more tests and have my boss sit in on a private lesson I do with her son.  Crap.  I guess I should prep something for that.

I’m tired.  I can barely keep my eyes open.  And I just want the whole world to leave me alone for a day.  From 1 to 7 I have to be in control.  I walked in the door tonight and just lost it.  Doesn’t help those damn suicidal and Si thoughts are creeping into the back of my mind.