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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.

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I think my weekend away with my mom and sister helped me feel less trapped and freaked out.  I spent a whole day with my mom who was really sympathetic about the PTSD (though she later chastized me for not talking about it sooner and I know talking about stuff is something I need to work on, more on that in a minute).  My mom was relatively unresponsive on the Hawthorn situation.  She was sympathetic but pretty much just said that I should try and work it out with him and if it becomes clear that it isn’t going to work out, then just find myself an apartment and move on.  She wasn’t callous about it or anything, just matter-of-fact. But all of it feels less dire after talking to her about it, so that good.

Then I spent an entire day with my little sister, Dahlia, who has her own heap of life drama, so I did my best to be understanding and helpful and not add to her burden.  She felt like my anxiety issues really explained a lot of my behavior in the past year.  She had no commentary on the Hawthorn situation, except to say that if seemed he was going to get my name tattooed on him I should break up with him because that’s just weird. Heh.  No risk of that happening.

Finally I spent some time with my oldest friend in the world, Rose, who suffers from agoraphobia and anxiety and had a really good long talk with her.  She made me feel less crazy and more supported.   She thinks that I should sever it with Hawthorn and beg Oak to take me back. With the caveat that I shouldn’t be making any decisions right now, at least until I start feeling like I’m on an even keel again.

I went to the doctor today and we agree the Klonopin is excellent and helping.  The Zoloft not so much.  Dr. was really unhappy with the side effects (dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, stomach upset) and that it seemed to be making me more jittery.  She didn’t think the side effects would go away if they hadn’t already and really didn’t want to increase my dose, so she switched me to Lexapro, which I’ll start today. She also got me into physical therapy for the tension and pain in my neck and shoulders and gave me muscle relaxants.

The weather here at home is bleak and wintery.  I know some folks love snow but it feels desolate and oppressive to me.  I am, I think, maintaining a fairly positive outlook, given everything, but I’d just assume see that sun while I’m trying to get better.

Friday is my therapy appointment and I’m very much looking forward to it.  I know I have trouble asking for help and I certainly need to get over that.  But I also just have problems talking sometimes.  Like it really is easier for me to write it all out than to say it out loud.  I find often there are things I want to say but the words sort of stick inside me, like there’s some unidentifiable thing forcing me to keep to myself.  Also I really value personal privacy.  I’m unlikely to share a lot of myself with anyone, even a lover or a boyfriend, but it’s never been to the extent where I felt like I couldn’t even if I wanted too.  So I am really going to try and work on being more open (in therapy, not just wishing I would be, but like actively working on it). I want to dissolve whatever blockage is holding in my words and my feelings.

I did talk extensively with Rose about how I feel fine talking to Oak about things. And maybe it’s not just my comfort level of talking to him, but I actually feel like he’s listening when I talk, which is something I don’t experience with very many people. (This is what prompted Rose to suggest I should get back with Oak vs. Hawthorn, not some personal preference, just she thought I should be with someone I could really talk to.)

I’m not homesick like I thought I’d be.  I did have some very nice moments with my family and I’m hard to preserve those as memories I can reflect on on a rainy day.  Something I need to do more of.  I’m considering cataloging some of it here, but some of it feels too personal to even put on paper.  Not because I don’t want to share it, but because speaking it or writing it might somehow diminish the magic of it.

A good trip over all.  I feel more supported and less isolated, but perhaps no less confused than I was before.