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 🙂