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I had my first therapy appointment today.  She encouraged me to continue writing here as much as possible and said that it’s hopefully equally as useful as therapy.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, “what is my problem?”  I have spent hours trying to guess at the mystery that makes me act the way I do.  I left therapy today and went shopping (I needed pillow cases, and, um, a clearance ceramic tray glazed with chrysanthemums as my reward for not chickening out on therapy) and wandered around thinking the usual, what is my problem.

It is no stretch at all to say that everything wrong with me comes from bottled up emotions.  I can’t talk about how I’m feeling.  I can write about it, to some extent, but when I’m in direct conversation it’s like the words form in my brain but never make it out of my mouth.  This extends to asking for help when I need it, for support, for attention and for affection.  In a relationship I am much more likely to write you a long letter than to spill my heart to you.  I have often been accused of withholding when it’s really more like an unintentional blockage.

As I walked around looking at cheap things made in China that I could probably make myself, I thought about what keeps my words locked inside me.  Here are some reasons:

  • I am uncomfortable asking for help.
  • I don’t want to upset anyone with my problems
  • I am afraid of what people will think of me.
  • I fear honesty will cause people not like me
  • I feel too exposed.
  • I hurt all the time and I don’t want anyone to know.
  • I do not want to be rejected.
  • I do not want you to see how lonely I am.
  • I am afraid of making you angry.
  • I don’t think I express myself clearly and do not want to be misunderstood.
  • I don’t want you you to think I am being mean when I am just being honest.
  • I fear you will think I am stupid.
  • I have no familial history of talking about feelings.
  • I do not want to appear weak or vulnerable.
  • I am by nature a private person and I haven’t figured out the bounds of safety for talking when I need too.

And I guess it’s all those reasons together that’s gotten me where I am, but I’m not sure exactly.  Someone once told me that of everyone they knew I had seemingly the least number of reasons to be insecure but was in fact the most insecure person they knew.  And hey, I will gladly speak up righteously and loudly on your behalf, I just haven’t ever felt comfortable asking for anything for myself.  It’s hard to say that I value others more than myself because I think I’m fairly selfish, but perhaps my own sense of self worth keeps my words down? That seems almost too easy.  And yet how does one go about valuing oneself more?

Last night I dreamt that someone tried to cut out my tongue.  The blade only made it about three quarters of the way through and I was choking on my own blood, keeping my hands over my mouth and then I woke up.  I told my therapist this and she was fascinated that I would dream about losing or trying to keep my tongue the night before I started therapy.  I’ve actually had this dream once before a couple weeks ago.  In that instance my tongue got cut out and my mouth filled with blood and I was leaning over and trying not to get any on my white shirt.  I don’t usually make any effort to understand or interpret my dreams, but I gotta say, the tongue/talking thing is kind of trippy.  And creepy.

When we were together I never managed to say any of the things I needed to to Oak.  Now I want to call him and tell him everything, everyday.  I have been mostly resisting this urge as I don’t think, given the circumstances, that it’s fair to him.  I have been communicating with him, some in email or texts but I’ve trying to limit it.  I just need to be really clear with myself about why I want to tel him everything, why it’s okay to be so open now.  Possible reasons include being still in love with him, feeling safe because he’s far away, feeling safe because he’s pretty much already seen me at my worst, because he asks good questions and listens, and, I don’t know, other things.  I love Hawthorn, but the idea of walking into the other room and talking to him about all of this seems impossible. The idea of calling Oak and talking to him about all of it seems like a relief.

I seem to be tolerating the Lexapro okay so far.  The queasy grossness from the Zoloft is gone and I guess I feel a little weird and spacey, but pretty much okay.  I’m going to give it a few more days before I say for sure.

Now I am going to go shower and get dressed for a party.  Let’s see if I can manage this without sedating myself first.

For the last couple years I have been suffering terribly.  In my teens and early 20s I struggled with depression, but managed to mostly control it or overcome it or ignore it. Now, 15 years later, my psychiatric diagnosis is PTSD. A while back I was pulled out of my car at gun point, forced to the ground, threatened and robbed. It was scary, but it wasn’t the worst thing that had ever happened to me, I wasn’t hurt, I didn’t lose much more than a few hundred dollars and my phone.  The guys who did it where eventually caught committing other crimes and are now in prison.

I didn’t exactly put this out of my mind, but I did my best to move on.  I have since descended into extreme anxiety.  A series of events after the robbery (some caused by, some unrelated) have pushed me down into increasing, continuous panic so much that I’m in actual physical pain from it.  Last week I sought help.  After weeks of psyching (heh) myself up to call a mental health clinic, I finally broke through and did it. Turns out they don’t take my (good) insurance and I can’t afford the regular rates.  Not sure what else to do I called my regular doctor.  She helped set me up to get treatment (both medication and therapy) and agreed to meet with me regularly initially (since I know her and trust her and I have to go out and meet and call a bunch of new people which has become practically impossible for me because of the anxiety).

Here I am going to try and chronicle how I am.  I have always been better at writing down my feelings than talking about them.  I have always been terrible at fitting the pieces of my life together and seeing patterns.  I know I need to be in therapy and talking to someone, but I’m hoping that journalling this daily will help with that too. Or at least telling myself the story of what I happened, who I was, who I am and who I will become.

I started taking Zoloft.  I have been taking Klonopin, periodically, to stave off panic attacks.  I was uncomfortable with it at first, worried I’d feel high or sedated or something, but no, it just makes me feel calm, better able to deal with things like large groups of people (like, oh say, my boyfriend’s family at the holidays).

Because my audience right now is me, I’m not going to try and lay out the back story and the dramatis personæ in my life.  It will perhaps unfold as worry out my own problems.

I know I was once strong, beautiful, creative and a force to be reckoned with. In 2011 I am going to find my way back to being that person.  I am tired of crying.  I am tired of being scared.  I am tired of feeling like my loneliness is whittling away my personality until I am no longer even interesting to myself.