My lessons…

So, long time no posting…  I wish I could report some wondrous reason for my absence, but unfortunately not.  The only reason is pure dysfunction.  The reason for the dysfunction are my lessons for the week…

Lesson 1: Remember, listen and pay attention

I’m often reminded of the ripple effect any incident can have in a dissociative system.  Something that doesn’t even register as a ripple to you, can be tidal wave to another part of the system.  So when I briefly posted an entry on this blog that contained the words “good girl”, I had no idea what the consequences would be.  I didn’t sense any real warnings about the meditation when I read the original entry.  But then, I don’t think I was really listening and paying attention to what was happening internally.  I was thinking of sharing what I thought was a valuable resource with others – librarian mode in full flight.

The first hint that things weren’t right, was a message from S:
“I’m no ones good little girl”

Once I saw this message, I edited the entry to something I thought was safer. Ellie tried to reassure S –
Ellie: “it’s been changed
S: “too late… pay the consequences”
Ellie: “it’s been removed, no need for consequences”

The thing is, I should have known not to use that phrase – it was listed in one of the original trigger inventories that I did early in my healing journey.  But I was arrogant, careless and disrespectful.  I was thinking of sharing a resource, more than I was thinking of the ones who carry the wounds.  There were consequences to using that phrase, and it’s impossible to blame her.  I trampled all over S and her triggers, so why should I expect niceties in return?

Yes, it would have been great if S could have dealt with the situation differently.  But, it also would have been great if I’d thought about what I was doing.

Did I really pay attention inside? No.
Did I think about the phrases I was reading and using? No.
Was I being a self-important pompous twit by finding something that others might find useful? Yes.

I was thinking of myself more than the system.  No wonder they don’t trust me.

Lesson 2: Be responsible for your own safety

Yes, the consequences of my actions meant that S lashed out.  The flashbacks were horrific and all consuming. This allowed the ones who are dangerous to come forward and, for want of a better word, play with the body.  But before we reached this point, I had the opportunity to ask for help from Allison and the crisis team.  That would have been the sensible thing to do, but what did I do instead?  Basically, I set Allison up for failure.  I was unable to say the words “I need help”.  Instead I buried the message in emails from M and the young ones tried to tell how scary it was within therapy.  It wasn’t surprising that Allison couldn’t work out how bad things were.  But her inability to read all the messages that seemed obvious to us, meant that she had failed.  So after therapy on Monday there was a dangerous incident that meant we ended up in respite care for two nights.

The truly sad thing, is that even after the incident, I wasn’t able to communicate to the crisis team that I was still in danger.  Both Sophie and M were telling the team that we were in danger, but also didn’t want to cause a fuss, so were going along with their plans to send us home.  When it became obvious that this was going to happen, a very restrained Frank came forward and indicated how unstable we were.  At least some part of me was willing to step up and protect us.

So this is what I’ve indicated to Allison that we need to work on immediately, my inability to communicate the level of danger I’m in.  I need to know how to read the signs within the system and communicate it clearly.  I know I’m hampered from this free communication because so many of the young ones are triggered by hospitals, and our fear is that if we are honest about how bad things are, we’ll end up there.

If I’d been honest today, I probably shouldn’t have been released from respite.  But respite was different this time.  I was in the same place, but the carer in charge for the week was different, as were the mix of the clients.  This threw the dynamics off to the point where it didn’t feel safe.  It felt like my house growing up; rather than the healthy, vibrant place that the other carer made it.

I know I’m not out of danger yet.  I’m seeing the crisis psychiatrist today, so I’ll get another chance at trying to be honest about my level of danger and establishing what options are available to me.  I’m almost resigned to a hospital stay… some think this would be a good idea, especially in the secure ward where we can release some of the pent up emotion in a safe environment.

So at the moment I feel like a complete and utter failure.  I put the system under more stress at an already stressful time, and I didn’t take adequate steps to protect us once the damage had been done…  Yup, a failure.

Note: Please be aware that I am getting support, I’m not putting this out there and expecting readers to save me… although donations gratefully accepted (especially therapy vouchers) – you know, just saying 🙂

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18 thoughts on “My lessons…

  1. hi castorgirl, i think it’s great that you write these posts and have so much insight into your system and what is going on and what things mean.

    one thing that i was wondering about while reading this, is that from my perspective as someone who does not dissociate, i can relate to what you wrote in so far as i have a very bad tendency to beat up on myself emotionally. not let myself off the hook. think everything is my fault. and i can also relate to the specific feeling of worrying about being arrogant. i have a pretty strong “who do you think you are” echo in my subconscious that is very painful. i feel like i am not allowed to feel proud of myself and should be ashamed of myself a lot of the time.

    and it seems to me that some of that is going on with you. i don’t think wanting to share that resource was arrogant or pompous, and i don’t think you’re a twit. the librarian part of you saw something meaningful in what you read and wanted to pass it along. and that is a good thing. but some parts of you felt hurt that you didn’t pay enough attention to how much this would trigger them. maybe you weren’t fully consciously aware, maybe you forgot, maybe you underestimated the effect this would have on them.

    for me, even when i know what is best for me, i don’t always do it. ok, often don’t. the habit of neglecting, disregarding and minimizing myself and my deeper needs and emotions is so deeply ingrained and hard to unlearn. and once i start to feel bad emotionally, i have a tendency to kick myself when i’m down. just seemed to me that you might be doing a bit of that.

    i wonder what is going on that it makes it so hard for you and other parts to not be able to say so if you need help. i know when my feelings are hurt, i still find it impossible to say so. even if they are really hurt. it’s still my knee-jerk reaction to try to act like things are fine. because i don’t want to risk upsetting anyone else or causing a conflict. i don’t know if this relates to your situation, but something about it felt familiar. i need help in that moment. i need to be able to express that i’m in pain, but i’m too scared. so i feel paralyzed and it’s the worst feeling. and i don’t get the help i need. and everything gets strained and i feel farther away.

    anyway, i am glad you are feeling better and that you were able to write some about how you’ve been. i wish all of you well. each part.

    • Katie,

      Thank you…

      You’ve hit on so many of the issues survivors struggle with. One of my main issues is communicating distress in a meaningful way. Considering that distress was actively discouraged when I was growing up, I find that I don’t have a vocabulary for it now. It often as you say, becomes frozen within my being. I realise that each time this happens, I give up on myself and those around me a little more. To me, it can feel like I’m screaming out in pain; but in reality, I’m probably shrugging and saying “I’m fine”.

      Me, hard on myself? Never 🙂 Again, this is such a learned behaviour… always watching for ways to stay safe, and having to be hard on yourself when you failed – just in case you could learn from it and change the outcome next time. In reality, we were never going to change the outcome, but as a child you don’t realise that. It feels like it’s all your fault, and if only you could be perfect, it would all be fixed.

      Sometimes the librarian part of me takes over and researches and finds resources that are aimed at understanding trauma and it’s effects, not realising the impact this can have on the rest of the system. It’s easy to research false memory syndrome, extreme abuse, therapy induced DID and a whole raft of inappropriate subjects for the rest of the system. But she is driven by the need to learn and understand what we’re facing – if she can do that, then she feels we can be “fixed”.

      Again, thank you for bringing such understanding and empathy to my blog…
      Take care,
      CG

  2. CG, I know this has been a really awful time for you, and I think recognising the signs, and how difficult it is for you to ask for help is a step forward. I know how hard it is to ask for help. Can you find some way to do this safely? Like take this post with you to the psych team, or arrange with Allison if you bring a certain picture or say the word “sausages” or something, then it means you need help? I know that sounds weird, but all our experience tells us that needing help, and asking for it, is wrong and bad. It doesn’t have to be – once I found a safe way to say these things it became easier, and it felt almost good to let someone help me.

    Please please p-l-e-a-s-e find some way to talk to the psych team. You need to be safe, however that happens.

    Many many warm safe ((hugs))

    • Hi Kerro,

      Well, I uttered the words about how bad things were today, and it got me nowhere. The psychiatric appointment was cancelled due to illness. This started off a game of bouncing me back and forth from my GP to the crisis team. My poor GP was at a loss as to what to do – this is what the crisis team is for. Meanwhile, the crisis team told me to stop ruminating and to stop doing the same things, so therefore getting the same results. I agree with the crisis teams advice, but not when I’m this out of control. It’s hard to ruminate about anything when I’m constantly being sucked into flashbacks; and it’s hard to change things when I can’t keep track of what’s happened in the last hour.

      One moment at a time…
      CG

  3. After reading kerro’s comment I feel like I didn’t tune in enough to how much danger you still feel you are in. I’m sorry. I sure hope you are ok and that you are able to get the help you need. I’ll be thinking of you all and wishing you well.

    • Hi Katie,

      Please, don’t apologise… Kerro and I chat through FaceBook and IM, so she kinda has insider information 🙂

      Thank you for the kind thoughts and wishes… they are appreciated.

      Please take care,
      CG

      • Thank you, castor. I’m glad my comment before was ok too. I worry about being not sensitive enough. Thank you for your response. I’m sorry you didn’t get more help from your GP and crisis team. I hope things improve soon. I’ll be wishing you all well.

  4. I am so sorry to hear you have been struggling so. I have experienced that internal rippling effect. It is scary. Everything seems to have to work its way through layers before it gets to me. By then, it is sometimes past the point of peaceful return.

    Sitting with you, and hoping that you find the strength and the words to adequately express yourself to those who can help you.
    ~Lothlorien

    • Thank you Lothlorien…

      The ripples can be stunning, can’t they? This one swamped S and was passed onto the stronger, violent ones behind her. I’m hoping that the passing of my birthday will ease some of the issues.

      BTW… I love your new username, it reminds me of serene forests and peaceful times.

      Take care,
      CG

  5. I’ve been thinking of you. Wondering if you’re okay. Wish I had some good advice, but when I am in a similar situation, I am at a loss as well. I understand and can relate to many of the issues that you and others have mentioned, especially the difficulty in asking for help. When I need help, I tend to hide. I also have much fear of hospitals.

    I am reminded of a saying that my therapist shared with me: “this too shall pass”. I know it probably doesn’t feel like it, but it will. I hope you get the help and support you need asap.

    sending healing thoughts and peace,
    Dawn

    • Hi Dawn,

      Thank you for your support…

      It’s hard to ask for help, even harder when you do and nothing is done to assist you… I’m doing “one moment at a time” and “this too shall pass”, but I know little things are setting me off. I know I also need to try to keep myself safer by trying to minimise the input I’m getting… I just read a blog which triggered all sorts of things internally, in some ways it was good because it set of the defensive fighter in me, but it was also negative because I took all the negativity contained in the post and turned it on myself – which I’m sure is what the writer intended.

      Thank you for understanding…
      Take care,
      CG

  6. How do you get your control back? Do you talk things out or do you let the others come out to talk? That sounds very scary, and I’m glad you are back here and writing about it.

    Yesterday hubby accompanied me to the rheumatologist’s and when she asked if I needed anything I didn’t ask for what I wanted. So hubby said “Lisa, tell the doctor about your pain and what you feel will help. Don’t be afraid to ask.”. If he hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have gotten my shots. I know that’s not a great comparison to what you went through, but I often just shut down and be a quiet, well-behaved girl and don’t get what I really need. Then I suffer for it later.

    What will happen for you next?

    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa,

      I can only say what happens for me, but it’s a mix of what you say – it’s about the ones who were triggered being given the time and space to work through the trigger, and also the rest of the system trying to contain the issue so that safety is maintained.

      I can so identify with the “quiet well-behaved girl”. This is what I do all the time – especially with health professionals. I know this is because I had quite a few medical procedures when I was young and also the mother being a nurse. It’s a hard habit to work through, to feel entitled to good care.

      On Tuesday I go to see the crisis psychiatrist, who will hopefully offer some medicine assistance so that I can keep on working on healing without being too overwhelmed. Allison also comes back from her course the following week, so it’s back to therapy.

      One day/hour/moment at a time…

      I’m glad you got the shots, one of the people at work has rheumatoid arthritis, and her pain can be extreme.

      Take care,
      CG

  7. 😦 I think this is one of the probs w/DD.
    We can have parts that can be SO fine. SO competent. SO smart.
    People just can’t fathom why we are so messed.
    They can’t understand why we can’t pull it together.
    Sorry its so hard right now.
    Ones

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