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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Validation and Progress

So many things have happened in the last two weeks.  Unfortunately, much of it isn't my story to tell.  How do I share all the things in my heart without violating someone else's confidence?  Let me just say I had the opportunity to be with someone as they processed some difficult things.  Many of these things validated much of what I am struggling with.  And I got to validate the other person, too.

Many more memories are coming back.  As they come, they are sometimes too much to handle.  And yet, I can't seem to let them go.  They run around in my mind, playing hide and seek.  I can tell they are there but can't really lock down their meaning.  It's tough when my adult brain tries to make sense of things that happened to me as a child -- things that didn't make sense then.  So much of it doesn't make sense now either.

I have had the opportunity to work on my therapeutic assignment.  I have worked up several alternate coping strategies, some of which can be painful.  I don't know if they will fill the void and make it so I don't hurt myself but we'll see.  I typed them up because when I am in that place I can't seem to think straight; even though I had all these plans I can't remember what any of them were.  This way, I can read what they were and try some.  I will list some of them in a future post.

I also found something that helps to quiet my mind sometimes.  When something starts to bother me and I realize it's something I need to discuss in therapy, I write it down.  I have a file on my computer where I type random thoughts, memories, connections.  Once I write them down, knowing that they are there when I am ready to deal with them, I am able to let them go and move on.  It seems to free me from them temporarily.  Mostly.

I also connected with several people on facebook late at night.  I don't think it's necessary that I have someone I can vent to and process with, just someone to connect to.  (Although I do have both kinds.)  I have written up a list of these people as well, so I don't have to try to remember when I can't think.

And I was blessed with an anxiety attack irrelevent to any emotion or memory.  I say blessed because experiencing it without emotion or memory meant that I was just dealing with the physical symptoms.  I was able to test one of my coping mechanisms at a lower state of aggitation.

When I have a panic attack, when I get really tense and start to shut down, the first place I feel it is in my shoulders.  I feel like there are hands on my shoulders and I need to shake them off.  To get away.  Even without memory connected to it.  It happened this time as well.

I was tempted to scratch, but the temptation wasn't overwhelming.  I was able to think clearly enough to remind myself to try my new strategies. 

So I got out my hand weights.  I worked my arms, especially through my shoulders, until it hurt.  I pushed through the point that I thought I couldn't go on until they were almost numb.  And it helped.  I felt better.  The tension relaxed.  The pain remained long enough to get me through the tough moments.  It distracted me for a bit, changed my focus. 

I don't know if it will work for a full-blown meltdown, but it helped me get through that moment in a healthy way.  I got the chance to practice in a less intense moment.

And any time I make progress, I feel like I'm moving in the right direction.


Rubye Jack said...

Writing things down is the best tool I have found for coping.
I have so much respect for you as you explore your memories Robin. I remain ever too fearful to go there.

Hillary63 said...

What Rubye said, thank for detailing your process so concretely it is really helpful to me especially to hear you noticing the changes and release that happen, this is so pro-active, your actions are truly inspiring and help me build confidence to allay all these fears about whether I can change. I think you have all of the evidence you need that this will help you in a full-blown meltdown, it will, each time you go through this process you build body memories too - the good kind. I think writing down all of your resources is brilliant, I need to do this as well, it really does make a difference, it helps clear out the junk drawer that is my mind. Thank you misssrobin. xo

Debbie Pinkston said...

I suggest to some of my clients to keep a small notebook in their purse or backpack so they can jot down things that come to mind that they want to talk with me about later.

I admire your courage Robin and I also thank you for the strategies that you have shared. You are definitely dealing with this "hands on" and not just hoping things will get better without any action on your part. You are actively finding tools and methods that help you cope and sharing those is helpful to others.
Thanks again!

Pixie said...

Thank you for sharing, Robin. :-) P

tiff said...

please email me at tckellogg@gmail.com
I need some one to talk to. 22 year old wife of a 4 year old and 1 year old. my husband is so mean to me.

tiff said...

would love someone to talk to. feel so alone. wife of two.

Jennifer said...

I can so relate to your words...I feel it in my stomach. And I have not figured out a way to fight it. I just let it ride. Dealing with childhood issues is tough. Do we ever close the door and make peace? I hope so. Thanks so much for sharing!

tiff said...

I feel like my life is always up and then goes down, I watch my two amazing children all day then when my husband gets in at 3:30 pm from work its like he doesnt even acknowlege me or the children. He will be nice to them for maybe the first 30 minutes he gets home, but still doesnt help me with diapers, feeding, dinner, or clean up for dinner. he is always calling me fat and then says oh i am kidding u are to serious. he plays video games and is so mean to me and the kids when he plays it.