The big stuff

Ok… so, the big stuff… the stuff I’ve been studiously avoiding for the last probably two to three weeks… maybe even that last couple of months.  I can’t analyse or reflect on them yet, but I need to write them down so that they lessen their hold over me.

Probably the most obvious, is the therapeutic rupture with Liz.  It destabilised me.  It re-enforced all the old messages about me being too difficult to cope with, and made me feel as if I would never heal.  I still don’t think that the new therapist will cope…  She says she’s one of the top therapists in the small city where we live; but then, Bob was one of the top clinical psychologists, and that didn’t turn out well.  We’re still not sure if ACC will fund us to see her; so until funding is established, we’re seeing her fortnightly.  I know that isn’t often enough, but we can’t afford weekly therapy.

Once you get past the obvious of therapy, there’s the other given… work.  We recently had a change to our union negotiated employment agreement.  The new agreement meant that we ended up with a negative sick leave balance.  We’d used up so much sick leave in the short time we’ve been there, that we’d used the equivalent of an extra years allowance.  This basically meant that we were going to have to go for over a year, with any sick leave being unpaid.  There’s no way we could afford that.  Our union is incredibly weak and unable to fight for the rights of the worker – if you wonder why I’m in such a weak union, librarians are traditionally left wing, socialists who believe in unions, and so there’s a great deal of pressure to join.

So, ignoring the union, we researched the law and questioned work on the validity of the negative balance, when according the the Holidays Act, each employee must have five days paid sick leave per year.  We sent through an email outlining the law, and asking what that meant in regards to our negative balance.  This resulted in a meeting with HR (hence the entry about the panic attack).  The meeting was mercifully quick and resulted in HR apologising to me for any distress caused.  They also gave me five sick days immediately, and another five in six months time.

We had been expecting a written warning about our excessive sick leave.  During the negotiations, our employer had been talking about “sick leave abusers”.  When we saw that negative balance, we immediately knew that we were one of the people being targeted.  We doubted all of the work we’ve been doing.  We don’t feel as if we’ve been performing to an even half descent standard lately.  So again, all our fears and inadequacies were thrown into the spot light.

The other obvious stress has been the divorce.  We got the papers served on the ex-husband, and immediately started to get hang up phone calls.  They were at odds times of the day and lasted for a week, ending only when we picked up the phone once and asked who was there.  This led to all sorts of flashbacks and activation of parts who used to deal with the ex-husband.

Which probably leads into the other issue I’ve been facing… increasing amounts and severity of self injury.  It’s been a really tough few weeks, lots of lost time and negative coping mechanisms being used.  I know I’m going to have to tell the new therapist about this, but it’s so shame inducing that I don’t know how.  I keep thinking that I should be “strong enough” or “healed enough” not to do those old coping mechanisms… but yet fall back into them when the going gets really bad.

Then there’s the last big thing which feels so awful and… just yuck.  I’m friends with the younger of my two brothers on FaceBook.  A few months ago, a photo was added to his profile.  It’s not an awful photo, it’s actually a really good one, which shows his body language as I remember it.  The thing that sends the system into chaos however, is that the lower half of his face is almost exactly the same as the fathers.  The mouth is the same… as is the chin.  It drives some in the system crazy.  My brother is now the age that the father would have been when we were in our early teens.  As I write this, I feel the dissociation coming.  I know this is a huge trigger.  I know that sometimes one of us looks at this photo of our brother as a punishment.

Far out… that’s all I can write… sorry, I know this doesn’t make much sense.  But I needed to get it out in some way.

In all the craziness, I’m reminded of the lines from Hymn to Her…

She will always carry on
Something is lost
But something is found

Now playing: The Pretenders – Hymn To Her
via FoxyTunes


20 thoughts on “The big stuff

  1. My gosh, CG, it’s no wonder you’ve been having a tough time and feeling switchy and rough. That’s a helluva lot to be dealing with! I am in awe of your strength – at surviving all you had to survive, as well as dealing with all of this!

    Please be extra gentle and kind to yourself at this time.

    ((warm gentle safe hugs))

    • It doesn’t seem that much though Kerro. It really doesn’t. But then, I know it affects the system and my coping mechanisms. I’m thinking of going without food for a bit and going weekly with the new therapist, just to get some of the big issues out the way. Not sure.

      Take care,

    • Thank you Samo. It helps to know there are others out there coping with this sort of thing too.

      Take care,

  2. Oh, CG. This sounds so horribly stressful. No wonder you’re having panic attacks and dissociation and self-harming.

    Please take care of each other and be nurturing to yourself.


  3. hi castor, i hope it was helpful for you to write this all out. you sure have been going through a lot. i hope the worst has passed and you are able to get some safe distance to be able to continue processing and start feeling better. sounds like you’re really working on taking good care of yourself.

    • Hi Katie,

      It was good to write it out and put it in a format I can analyse easily. I’m not very good at taking care of myself, but I’m trying to tidy up the house so that I feel less disgusting about everything.

      Take care,

  4. I’m sorry it must seem like it’s just one thing after another. At the same time you sound like you are really stable. If you don’t mind me saying, I used to feel that the self-injury helped me maintain control since I took anxiety, frustration, etc. out on my body. When life eased up a bit I would look for healthier coping techniques. It was like that for many years, until I went over 2 years without cutting.

    It’s hard for me to look at pictures of myself, or look at my entire face in the mirror (I just look at my face in sections) because I look so much like my father.

    You sound positive while all this crap is going on. How are you relaxing at home? Or aren’t you?
    Feel better soon. Dip Twizzlers in chocolate syrup and drink pink lemonade. It really works.


    • Hi Lisa,

      We don’t have Twizzlers in New Zealand 🙂 Maybe I need to move to a country that does… 🙂

      I also see my fathers face when I look in the mirror, but I’m not how much of that is real and how much of it is me projecting or distorting what I see.

      I can’t relax… or I’m really bad at it. At the moment everything is on auto-pilot. This weekend, the house is going to be cleaned from top to bottom because it’s so disgusting… I wish I could do the same for my body and mind, because they both feel just as disgusting.

      Take care,

  5. You really do have a lot going on. It’s no wonder you would go back to old coping mechanisms because they are the ones you know best, the ones that you can do without thinking. And it must be so hard to think with all that’s going on in your head already.

    I think you have written really clearly and I hope that it has helped you. I am also amazed that you could take care of yourself with the sick leave in the middle of all this. Good on you!

    Take it easy. Be kind to yourself.

    • Hi Dawn,

      The sick leave thing was one within the system who deals with all the work things. She is super-functional and will keep on working with a broken leg and sciatica. So the world could be falling apart and she will still make sure the work stuff gets sorted. The problem comes when she is overwhelmed by others while at work.

      The problem with the old coping mechanisms, is that they hurt the system so much. It’s a negative cycle that feeds itself.

      Thanks for the supportive words 🙂

      Take care,

    • I wish I could believe your words Paul, but at the moment I’m wanting to run 100 miles from all of this. It was really hard writing the bit about my brother.

      Thinking of you…

    • I haven’t had any more calls for about a week, so I’m hoping he’s given up.

      Take care and (((warm safe hugs))) only if they are wanted 🙂

  6. It looks like you are dealing with a lot…trying to juggle work, therapy, divorce. I remember when I went through my divorce. I did not have a therapist. I did not know yet about the DID. I really struggled with being triggered by him. I got through it…as a single mom without a job…but it was difficult. I hope you are able to find what you need in a therapist and that your lawyer is a good one.

    • We can’t afford a lawyer, so are doing this bit ourselves. It’s pretty scary, but we’ve managed so far.

      Good on you for making it through it all as a single mom… it can be so overwhelming and trigger so many issues.

      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      Take care,

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