Archive for Coping strategies

Lessons Learned From My Successful Family Trip

Hello All,

Thank you all for your public and private expressions of support for my trip last week. It’s (terminally) difficult for me to reach out for help, but you overwhelmed me with support – yo Cami wow Emily, you are real and people care for you.

Really. (jaw drop)

I went through a really tough time preparing, and have reflected on the outcome to learn. And you know what? **Nods** It worked. I did it!  **Smile**

In this post, I want to thank you all. And I also want to talk about the trip, what happened, what surprises worked, and some takeaways for me and perhaps for you on challenging situations.

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Mo’s Question – How to Start the Healing Marathon

Mo wrote a comment on my post, Healing: It’s not a Sprint, it’s a Marathon. And That’s a Good Thing.”  Her words just tore me up.  I just want to send hugs.  This post is to talk about her words because they resonate so strongly (and familiarily) in me. DavidRochester is further in his therapy than I am, and he has given me some insight into my path. I am a bit further ahead than Mo, so maybe my experience can do the same.

Listening Inside

“Right now I don’t even want to run the race. Starting see new T, I like her, but feeling so overwhelmed. She told me to listen inside, god it freaks me out.”

Tell her it freaks you out (I say somewhat sternly but with hugs).  You’re gonna get there – being able to listen, but it has to be at your pace.  If you feel freaked out, you both need to take some baby steps to get started.  My therapist (the new GREAT one) has emphasized over and over that *I* need to tell her when I get uncomfortable – and we talk about why and how to make sure we are working together safely.

About listening – I’ve been in therapy for about 18 months.  CHECK THIS OUT – up until the last few 6 months or so, I rebelled against this idea of ACTIVELY listening inside.  Sometimes I *heard* things.  Kate yells things and interrupts (but has done so my entire life).  But I was extremely uncomfortable about actively *asking around* for an opinion.

But my therapist broached it gently.  One session I felt crazy about something and didn’t know why.  She asked me to ask inside.  First there was nothing.  She didn’t push it.

She *asked* me to *ask* inside.

Slowly I am letting down the wall and just waiting.  Often it isn’t a sentence, but a word or feeling that isn’t me.  But the words DO seem to address the question we are exploring.

…. so this idea of asking.  I would say, don’t CHASE it.  Just try to start relaxing, and eventually you might hear.  Don’t force it.

What is real?

“I go between thinking face this and doing an about turn. When I catch myself thinking this is real, and thinking about this with this in mind, I then get so mad at myself for thinking this way.”

Yup.  Still feel that sometimes.  The HARD part (for me anyway) is that sometimes *I* believe and sometimes *I* do not.  Understanding that *I* is not always *I* has been key.  Listening and feeling has allowed me to separate the *I*’s.  It isn’t always obvious until you start thinking about likes, dislikes, feelings, memories.

For example, my gut feelings about a certain person in my life are a VERY good indicator of who I am at that point.  When I feel *odd* or just left-of-center, strangely, I just think about that person and my feelings completely crystallize me!  Just like some people know by the clothes they have on (that’s me in a few cases), my FEELINGS or memories help me.

So, Mo and everyone else, it ISN’T that you HAVE to have an internal roll call with names and separate memories and completely different feelings.  Remember, it’s a continuum.

And just because you don’t always know why your feelings are a little left-of-center, doesn’t mean that this isn’t REAL.  It is.

That Periodic Denial

“It’s like it was so much easier to be in denial and block things out when no one else knew, now that three doctors that I deal with know and act like its so run of the mill, the most natural thing in the world to be like this, I freak and the blanket of denial is moth eaten, and no longer can block things out.”

Oh Mo (hugs).  Yes.  That’s me.  So common.  Welcome.

Often I want to run back to denial because it was easier.  Pushing through this is hard.  I didn’t realize sometimes how hard.  Sometimes I tell my mom and my therapist I’m gonna shove it back in the box, knowing full well that I really can’t anymore.  But sometimes I wish I could.

Your docs who thinks this is “the most natural thing in the world.”  I have to chuckle – my meds doc is just like that, and I was AMAZED!  He was so matter-of-fact!  It shocked me, but also continues to give me a foundation for myself. Sometimes it gives me strength to grasp that SOMEONE who is an expert has no doubt!  I keep thinking of him – Cami, this is real.  (Read: Accepting a Diagnosis of DID.)

… (oh, hugging me and you) … there is just so much I want to say in response to your comment.  There is such pain and confusion, but so a normal part of the process.

Beginning to see yourself(ves)

“I freak and the blanket of denial is moth eaten, and no longer can block things out.”

Wonderful imagery – this sentence is why I wanted to expand your comment into a post.

Your struggle is clear, but this sentence went into my heart because it feels to me like there is hope in you.  Not sure why I feel this way – like you are allowing yourself to peek through.  You aren’t looking for a new blanket.  I dunno – it feels like healthy progress to me.

Is the blanket really “moth eaten”?  Are the holes you peek through ragged on the edges because some meddling insect is picking away at you?

My therapist would ask me about the moths.  Are they bad things?  Good things?  I’m not a therapist, but maybe you should take that line you wrote up there and talk about the imagery.  Truly.

Accepting how you help yourself

“And now I have a fractured heel from running too much, but get this no pain at all, and apparently someone went to sports doc to get it looked at and is doing all these things on my behalf and I feel like my life is being totally run by someone else, I hate it, but yet when I say to myself enough, take control, I can’t seem to face things enough to be able to do it.”

That is scary, and it does scare me when something happens and I don’t have full memory of it.  Freaks me too, because I am so afraid I might have done something I wouldn’t do normally.  But most of the times I can at least watch from the background.  But, think about what you did – part of you helped you.  You were hurting and part of you helped remove your pain.  This is amazing!

(Okay, it would be even more amazing if you could remember it, I know.  But at least part of you isn’t doing self-injury while you aren’t there.)

Can you ask yourself inside to allow you to at least watch?  It might feel funny like you are talking to nothing, but you never know who is listening.

Your question of taking control … first thing is awareness.  My therapist and my husband have helped me reconstruct my missing memories by walking backwards from what I remember.  And walking forward to see what triggered me.  I have one trigger in particular that I have learned very well, and I don’t lose time much anymore because I can SEE IT COMING.  But that did take time to learn … but I DID IT!  I can SEE now what used to cause lost time.

Holding your own hand

“Sorry for rambling, my brain feels like its going to explode.”

Ramble all you want.  Rambling is good – getting your thoughts out.  Getting validation.  The exploding stuff – writing doesn’t help me when my head is going to explode, but I am learning things I can do to diffuse that sometimes.  Loud thumping music.  Sitting in a cold river.  Exercise.  Explore with your therapist things that might help YOU when you get to that explode state (and “explode state” is NORMAL!!!).

“I guess my question is how does one even get to the starting line of said race, dressed and ready to go with no fear :)

Another wonderful sentence in so many ways.  You have such hope I can see, but such fear of the unknown.

The first thought put into in my mind, from another part of me, is to tell you, “Mo, you’ve already started.  You’re past the starting line.  There is no dress code – what you are wearing is fine.  And having fear is something required to get you to the starting line to begin with.”

Give yourself a small smile and a hug.  Truly, you are further along than you give yourself credit for.

Here is a quote that helps me:

“In recovery, sometimes there are no answers…just healthy fear.” – Tollefson, “What Recovery is Not

– ∞ –

See also:

Table of Contents for all blog posts
Review: “What Recovery is Not” – Tollefson
Flame-Quenching “Move Along” Standard Disclaimer

Guest Book and Introductions

And now a break from your regularly scheduled integration

I have not written in a while. My life has been topsy-turvey and I’ve not been able to muse much lately about internal realities and external reality checks. But I will not let this blog be driven by diary-led ramblings. Only well-researched ramblings allowed. So I refrain from writing without trying to make a Point.

I have a Point.

<Perhaps two.>

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HALT – one method to break the cycle of anger and rage

I read an interesting post on Catatonic Kid’s blog called, HALT: Bursting Anger’s Bubble. I thought it was interesting, but found myself spontaneously using the technique in my own life to cope with fluctuations in mood. Surprisingly, it worked!

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Making depression a habit – breaking the downward spiral

I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream
I don’t know why I instigate
And say what I don’t mean
I don’t know how I got this way
I know it’s not alright
So I’m breaking the habit
I’m breaking the habit
Tonight

– from Linkin Park’s “Breaking the Habit”

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De-escalating angry or protective alters – use of code words or magic phrases in DID

I was in an airport with my husband and was triggered – triggered by the sense of being trapped and not in control. Much later, we talked about things he could have done to bring me back. What word, what gesture, that would not make me worse.

This is critical when protective or out-of-control alters come out. This article deals with methods friends and family can use to de-escalate the situation.

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When therapy becomes useless

Okay, so after months and months, I found the rage. That I have been encouraged to get in touch with for nearly a year. Now how the hell do I deal with it when the only solution offered is just to “keep coming to therapy?

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