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Well. I suspect I’ve triggered myself by going to see an unsuitable movie. Sigh. I am feeling discouraged, like I’m swimming through fog. I can again so easily spend time in bed doing nothing.

I’ve been doing OK overall. Despite being concerned by the lack of work, now for four weeks. The job market is very slow in July. But I’ve been doing activities. Like going to movies.

Last night I went off with a movie meetup group to see Dunkirk in Imax. It was intense and I admired the movie. It’s about the heroic rescue by ordinary small English fishing boats of 300,000 WW1 soldiers trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk.  The movie conveys the trapped soldiers’ point of view so well – bombed from above, the sea in front, the Germans behind. There wasn’t any gore either – just the imminent peril all the time. With Imax, you feel as if you are right in the movie – on the sea, or flying above in these tiny shoeboxes of airplanes.

And after, I chatted for a while with a woman about my age, and the conversation felt mutual and fine. I’m going to these types of activities in order to be with people after all. I felt good about the outing overall.

But today, I have not been able to get it together to function much at all.

I keep getting triggered without realizing it at the time it’s happening. And so many different things seem to do that.

 

 

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I ended up getting pretty sick. A flu cold mixture with allergies thrown in. I’m a lot better again but I’m feeling weak – walking to the store and back today was difficult, a bit. I haven’t seen anyone for a few days. When you live alone, getting sick is pretty lonely. All the little supports I’m trying to put in place in my life go away, because I can’t go out.

Tomorrow is a family Easter event. I’m not looking forward to it but at the same time I can’t quite ignore it either.

I skipped therapy for the first time in a year I think. I’d thought I’d be better in time to go, but on the day of, I realized there was no way. My eyes were just streaming with the allergies. A few hours before I sent an email saying I was sick. I’m supposed to give a day’s notice for cancelling, but he said it was OK. I’m assuming he won’t make me pay for the missed session. Luckily I almost never cancel, so I’ve got a good track record.

My mood has been not too bad, aside from feeling sick. And I was relieved to miss the dive into the dark side that therapy often entails. No post therapy recovery days this week. Phew.

But, predictably, now I am blue. I’ve been watching a mindless romantic comedy to cheer up. It kind of has cheered me up, but I’ve got so bored of it I’ve started writing here instead. In a way, it’s nice to watch beautiful, cheerful people with lots of money, in beautiful surroundings, with baloney problems that will solve themselves in ninety minutes.

But there are no good jokes in this. It was slim pickings at the library today, in the middle of a long weekend. This movie is called Baggage Claim and I don’t recommend it.

I’ve been obsessing mildly about a man at dance class. He’s not a crush, and he’s not a friend. He’s a guy that’s been dancing for two years, and really likes it. He goes to all the practices and he is very helpful. He’s taught me a lot of the steps. He’s really analytical, and can stop and figure out what I need to do – not easy because men’s steps are different. He had so much patience with me, and danced with me as much as with anyone else, even though I’m not much good.

The last practice I went to though, he suddenly ignored me. There were only three women there, and he wouldn’t dance with me. If I was the only person available, he sat out the dance.

I’ve been wondering if I did something. The only thing I can think of is I made a comment after a dance class, when he was coming in to take the next class. I just said wasn’t he taking me class, I missed my ‘lesson’ with him.

Maybe he thinks I’m after him???

Ack. Anyway. No big deal, but I’m sorry about whatever it is. I really appreciated his helpfulness and enthusiasm. I’ll likely never know.

I missed dance class and practice this week due to being sick.

I know I need more people in my life. I know if I’m happier, I’ll be more relaxed and more attractive to people. But partly, it’s just going out to things. I find it easier to go out to things that repeat every week – it’s less of a struggle for me if it’s a routine. Plus, I need things that don’t involve exercise, because exercise triggers me. So unfortunately. Because I love walking, and walking in groups would be a good way to be with people.

Sometimes, if find myself thinking hopeless things about myself. Sometimes, it’s as if it’s the voice of my father lecturing me. Pointing out how hopeless I am, how I’ve failed at everything, pointing out all the painful parts of my life, and how it all proves, that at my age, if I haven’t got it together, it’s way too late.

Then I catch it. If I can actually catch it – that harsh, lecturing tone, that negative slant on everything – if I can catch it, I can realize that’s not the TRUTH. It’s more of a torture mechanism.

I have found I can turn that off, stop that berating voice. I’m looking for a gentle loving voice, the real voice of calmness and truth. That says that life is life, good and bad, up and down, better events and worse events, better moods and worse moods. But I am not a label,  I am not a loser, or bad, or hopeless, or ill, and what’s happened to me isn’t proof of anything about me. I am a person. I don’t need anyone beating me up anymore. Including myself.

Feeling pretty rough. It’s better to go out, so I do. Out and about I feel bad in a different way. It’s as if my skin is hurting me, and things are boiling inside. That’s the best I can describe it, not being good with feelings. Also I am tending to cry today. I am also getting some things done though, so I’m not immobilized, which is at least good. Not sure if I can work though if I keep feeling like this.

Yesterday I actually felt better. I felt quite calm, but as if my system had had a shock and I was getting used to it. Like hearing bad news, and not being able to take it in entirely, but knowing it’s going to hit. A friend asked me to go with her to a Lebanese film, part of a festival she attends every year, so I went. I had to cancel my pre-arranged call to Ron, but I figured it would be nicer to have a companion for a few hours than fifteen minutes with Ron on the phone. I wasn’t feeling that bad.

The film turned out to be about war-induced PTSD! My friend doesn’t know about my issues except in vague terms (difficult childhood). The movie was very good actually. It showed a young woman in Lebanon during a civil war they had there in the 80s…at the start she is about to be married, then she is traumatized by seeing various shocking events, and she ends up mute in a hospital as a mental patient. The film kind of ends there, though right at the end, she seems to be remembering something and starts crying, and a sympathetic nurse moves to sit with her. You get the feeling that maybe she is coming back to life, with the crying. It’s not clear though, because right there, the nurse closes the door and we are left outside, wondering. And the movie ends there.

It was interesting to go to see a movie completely by accident that is somewhat mirroring my experience. I’m obviously not mute and not in an institution….But that film really illustrated the way this woman was taking everything in, and was not allowed to express those things she saw to anyone, and how she ends up ‘going away’ by becoming mute and no longer recognizing anyone.

Today I went out to do some shopping and various small errands. It’s good to be part of normal life. Even if I feel I look odd at the moment – I feel as if my face is swollen and stiff, and that people can tell there is something wrong with me.

I don’t precisely know what it was that I was remembering in my session on Friday. I can’t say for sure – oh this and that happened, this person attacked me and hurt me, because it doesn’t come back as pictures. I’m pretty sure what it was though to be honest, just from the sensations. A kind of rape.

I don’t understand how this could have happened to me with no one helping me when I was so tiny. I do not understand it. My family is a normal middle class family, not chaotic. How could this have been covered up so completely? As such a small child, I would have told my parents what happened…it’s like a reflex when you’re four. Unless I forgot it immediately. I don’t get it.

I’ve had a peaceful weekend with no major inner storms for a change. With Ron away I have backed off from trying to explore any feelings. I just let them go by. If there are any voices, I don’t try and hear what else they have to say. It’s just easier to be as normal as possible for now. Sometimes I feel I’m perfectly all right, and just need to stop diving into anything. Of course if something triggering happens, probably I will go off into flashbacks, but for now, I’m going with ‘everything’s fine’.

I’d planned two outings for this weekend, and also a shopping trip, and I managed it all. I got going early Saturday and finally got a bathing suit and some sandals on sale. Thought about high heels but ended up with flats – I just won’t wear the heels because then I can’t walk anywhere much. I could carry them in to work though, and just wear them there. Heels can be kind of fun, especially if your job is not interesting. Then walking around becomes an event.

Saturday evening I went off to my family’s because an old friend was visiting from Germany with her husband. I had the usual panicky feelings, but this time I tried square breathing, and it helped calm me down. At one point I took a break from the barbecue to go read the paper by myself in the house. Then after that, I decided it was OK to not talk much, if I didn’t want to talk. So I sat eating and doing square breathing and not talking much. It was fine. No one noticed I wasn’t talking much.

In my family, it was always important to be clever all the time, so everyone is kind of tense and trying to be smart, and it wears me out. The corollary is people are judged all the time, and then we judge ourselves also. The whole procedure is exhausting and unsatisfying, and anyway it makes me too anxious, so deciding just to sit there and not try is restful really. I was able to stay longer than my usual two hours, and didn’t leave abruptly in the middle of dessert like I have before.

Today I went to see Midnight in Paris with a friend, her pick. It was OK. The kid enjoyed it actually, as there are costumes and scenery and the tone is happy. I don’t think Woody Allen is making good movies anymore though. This was like eye candy for the over forty set, with a few jokes, not many. A bunch of pretty people talking. Sometimes though it’s fine to see something just as entertainment, just to rest.

With this friend, I often felt sad that I couldn’t share some deeper things that were happening to me. But today it seemed fine to just talk about unimportant things, just passing a Sunday afternoon.

Today I feel like things are OK. Kind of floaty, with nothing much happening, which is fine with me.

Therapy Monday. Also first day of my week of vacation.

I am no longer as scared going to therapy, though still anxious. Today I did a meditation tape in the morning before my appointment and it really helped put me in my body and feel more peaceful. Good idea if I can manage that every Monday.

I was a few minutes late for my session, which is different for me, so I arrived out of breath. We sit in silence as usual, Ron looking very solemn. He has on a deep blue shirt today which rather suits him (sorry, I’m a girl, what can I do).

I don’t want to plunge into my ‘complaints’, so I just sit for a bit. Ron then starts off. He’s interested in this ‘parts’ situation, and how I object when he mixes up the kid part with the grown up regular me. I’d sent him a ‘kid’ email, and he’d thought it was me, so then I sent him another attached to it that described the same thing from my perspective, so he could see the difference. To me, the difference is huge. Ron says it’s as if I’m pushing that kid part down, rejecting her as ‘not me’. Well she isn’t me I reply to that.

Ron: What do you make of this situation, that this part is so separate from you?

E. Shrugs. I don’t know…I don’t make anything of it. It just is like that. It’s not good. It’s not normal.

R. So are there other parts do you think?

He asked me that last week also. I have no idea and I trust there are not. Not split off like this at any rate. I know I do have a critical part, like everyone has, but it’s not a whole part or anything.

I mention how thrilled the kid part is when he replies to her email. That’s happened twice. And how it shocks me, because it makes that part seem more real.  Ron nods his head.

We sit in silence. So I mention that I was angry after the last session.

R. Are you angry now?

I shake my head. I’m just not. I don’t feel angry at the moment. We go over the email again – how whether he replies quickly or not depends on what’s going on for him that day, how busy he is. I say again that I’d really needed to hear from him on that particular email. He doesn’t really accept that there was anything special about this one, and I don’t press the point. I find it difficult to argue my corner with him, I’m cowed somehow. I hate that.

He says I jump to conclusions really quickly – he doesn’t reply to one email, and I conclude he doesn’t care. He’s not sure about who wrote one email, and I conclude he can’t tell the kid from the grown-up. Then I’m ready to just leave.

Whatever. Maybe. I’m frustrated he can’t see my point about the email where I wrote about suicidal thoughts. How that might clue him in that he might want to respond. But I also see I’ve kind of hurt him by vaguely threatening to leave. I see it would bother him if I left, and I kind of like that, because for one thing it means he gives a shit. And because it would really bother me a lot, as I feel attached to him.

I show him some kid drawings the kid did, as he’d said he’d like to see them. That was fine. I mainly did that because I don’t want this kid mad at me when I get home, and I’d promised I’d show them.

So then I tell Ron that, and he asks what else this kid part needs. So I kind of consult, to try and figure this out. Of course she wants to talk. So I let her talk.

It’s very interesting, if also embarrassing, because I don’t know what she’s going to say. She talks about Harry Potter. I went to see that movie on Sunday with a group of people I sometimes go out with. It was fine, and I thought the kid would like it. She talks in a childish way, kind of random, with lots of ands to string things together.

So she starts describing bits of the movie, the parts that she liked, and the 3-D aspect, where bits of things come out of the screen at you. That was fine. And then it emerged that the movie had really scared her. It ends with a war, and some characters get killed in a vaguely gruesome way. So she describes this, and starts kind of crying over the sadness of all the death and carnage…..

I’d had no idea I felt like this. I thought the movie was well done, interesting, good actors in the grown-up roles. Nice monsters and bizarre characters. But overall, the colour tone of the movie was dark, people wore black, and you did think HP was going to bite the dust at the end, as fore ordained or something like that. I wasn’t really following the plot too too well, as I’d missed the other six HP movies.

So we ended the session with me on the verge of tears about this movie I saw yesterday that scared me. Okey dokey. Ron just sat there, asked a few questions and such, but basically let me describe the movie and feel sad and scared. And really, it was very satisfying to speak from that kid part and feel those emotions that I didn’t know I had.

So overall a good session for me. One good seems to follow one bad in a regular kind of a way. I feel fine now. Except a little shocked about the realness of this young part of me that seems to have her own thoughts and feelings that I don’t necessarily know about.

I have been watching quite a few movies on TV this weekend. This is not the sort of person I wish to be. I have a very good novel waiting for me, for one thing. I wish to be the sort of woman who reads long and complex novels in the evenings, and never touches the TV except when utterly exhausted from terribly difficult work.

Well, I am not that woman. This morning, I tuned into Bridget Jones Diary, which I liked the first time I saw it in the theatre. Bridget is likeable – ditzy but good hearted. Well, kind of annoying after a while. What does Colim Firth (sp?), international rights lawyer, see in old Bridget, admin assistant with ADD?

The movie cheered me up though. I feel like I need light and cheerful things.

I met two friends for lunch – we had coupons for 15 dollars off each, hurray. So I spent about seven more including tip for a full meal at a nice place. We then walked around the city for a bit – the Santa Claus parade was just finishing, so we milled about with hundreds of small screaming toddlers and their frazzled parents.

We saw the Christmas windows, went to a few stores, and then home. I have decided it is more fun to meet with friends than to go to events with strangers. Though I will persevere with the events, because I wish to become comfortable with more people.

I am also enjoying just goofing off with friends that I like but don’t share a lot in common with. So no intense discussions of films or therapy or art – just bumming around, laughing at jokes. That is most relaxing. I used to have only intense types of friendships, but I no longer seek those out. It’s hard to have fun while being intense. And my intense friendships are prone to explosions ending the friendship.

Yesterday I met another friend, E, at a tiny middle-eastern tea shop. I sipped Blood of Pigeon tea and had a really nice confection – kind of shortbread with walnuts and honey in the middle. No real blood is involved – it’s a most delicious tea, a blend of mint and something else, reddish, and they sweeten the tea for you.

E. has just taken a big step and bought a house on her own. She’s worried she has done the wrong thing, so I tried to be encouraging. To me this seems like a really good move for her. She has a secure well-paying job, and is very responsible and steady. The house is small and includes an apartment to help pay the mortgage. Good for her I say. I am somewhat envious. Can’t wait to see it.

Another friend, P, told me last week that she was having severe anxiety attacks, but hadn’t told me at the time because I am ‘fragile’. I was kind of offended. Really, if you want understanding and knowledgeable advice about anxiety, talk to a mental patient. Not that I am exactly a ‘mental patient’, but I have my troubles, and I’ve educated myself about things ‘mental’.

To be fair, I wouldn’t go to P. with emotional turmoil either, because she can be pretty harsh about matters of feeling. So why feel hurt when she goes everywhere but to me with her trouble…It does go both ways. Perhaps she also feels I am harsh. Or just a mental basket case who shouldn’t be stressed…Who cares. Well, this is a very old friend and an example of previous more intense types of friendships. Not working so well.

I ended my Sunday by watching Hugh Grant in About a Boy, a movie I really like. I don’t think I’d ever seen the whole thing before. Grant has such a silly hair style, and lives in a ridiculous condo, and is not that likeable…He does unlikeable really well, while I find him insufferable as a romantic lead.

And in the commercials, I finally got out the dreaded vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the couch and small rug. And swiffered my floors. And watered the poor bedraggled plant. And found the camera manual so I could download my pics from the last three months. The instructions for downloading are a little complex and I always forget them in between. I’m glad I watched the movie and finally vacuumed my place. And finally downloaded my pics.

Tomorrow a friend is coming to help me re-install my OS. That should hopefully fix my computer issues. Yes, things are looking up.

Pic:  Taken in the park last weekend

Today I had planned to go to a movie with a meetup group. I wanted to see Where the Wild Things Are, which is a fabulous picture book I remember reading to my son, and is now a movie with appeal to adults also. Plus I wanted to keep practicing socializing with new people and being comfortable in groups. It didn’t happen.

My excuse is that I slept extremely badly last night, so felt exhausted, and with weird little stomach pains. Maybe it’s a good excuse, maybe not, but I just couldn’t get myself out the door. Instead I heated some leftovers and watched three episodes of The West Wing which I’d borrowed from the library. I’m so interested in this show. It gives a kind of an insiders view of politics, where nothing is black and white, and only tiny bits of progress are ever made. I guess I picture myself as one of the white house staff, wise cracking on the one hand, spouting policy on the other, and desperately idealistic underneath it all. Well, it’s a daydream, obviously.

This afternoon, after a walk, I read a novel and listened to the Saturday afternoon opera in the background. I realized today that having an opera in the background can be quite soothing. It’s like an organizing force or something – music is metred, at least the type I listen to, and it’s got this soothing effect. I’m not an opera fan really – they are so long and in a foreign language – but I’m going to start putting on the radio on Saturday afternoons if I’m at home.

A friend called me in the afternoon, and I could hear it on in the background. When I asked about it, she said she likes it because it’s not in English, so she can have it on in the background and read and it doesn’t disturb her. That’s how I got the idea.

I’m looking for some things to make me feel better, so that’s one thing. I’m getting depressed what with not sleeping and then having no energy to do things. I just need to keep on trying. Actually once I started making supper, I went on to a few other tasks, and definitely started feeling better. Not doing things is depressing. Or getting even just the porch swept gives a bit of a feeling of accomplishment.

I had been starting to wake up less often at night, and for a few days last week, felt almost normal. So last night was a set-back. I think I may have become over tired – I did a lot on Friday. And then I saw a stressful friend in the evening, which didn’t help me sleep peacefully. I value this friend for her intelligence and other good qualities. For instance, she is the only friend I have who reads fiction, as I do. It’s amazing how few people read. But, she also stresses me out as she is liable to jump on me for being illogical or for having a different opinion from hers. So I’m walking on eggshells a bit, when she is around. Which stresses me out sometimes. Friends are mixtures of qualities – we have to accept some not so good with the good.

I’ve been going to a new PTSD information type group Friday mornings. It’s OK. I want to do what I can to heal, and these information groups are what is on offer to people on waiting lists for therapy or therapy groups. I’d like to be able to chat a bit with the other participants, but the group is structured so that you listen to the social worker present information on a particular topic. I know they don’t want to get into anyone’s personal stuff, but I’d think we could socialize a bit.

So those groups stir things up for me, and I feel a bit triggered afterwards. One of the topics was on how to avoid triggers. I almost said, well, I’d best avoid this group then…but restrained myself. Ha ha. It’s true though. Do they think we aren’t reminded of why we’re there in the group, just because we’re not supposed to talk about it? Who knows.

In therapy for the last two weeks, I have avoided EMDR and it’s ‘time machine’ effect. The first week, Ms T didn’t even suggest it, as I told her I was waking up every two hours. The second week, I just told her, I’m just getting some more normal sleep, and I can’t do any more for now in case I stop sleeping again. Without sleep, I can’t really cope. So we talked about my family, mostly, what they’re like, how I react. It’s great just to talk about concerns with someone with some insight. Plus she’s getting paid to listen to me and hopefully not be bored. Then after therapy, I feel fine. None of this long recovery that is needed after my dives into my past.

I can’t heal from PTSD without going back to the dark past it seems. But I need to do it slowly. Me falling apart isn’t going to do my healing any good.

And in other news, I was very proud of myself on Friday, for making some very dreaded cold calls. I have my company website set up, so I’ve been researching and emailing local software companies with a link to the site. I’m keeping track of who I email on a spreadsheet with phone numbers, and have been intending to call the companies also.

Friday I bit the bullet and called 12 companies. I was extremely scared. First I napped (good avoidance strategy). Then I took a small amount of medication. Had some tea and a snack. Finally, I picked up the phone.

It wasn’t too bad. I got through to a person in about half the companies. Three people were interested enough to give me their email address so I could send them an email and link to my site. They might need someone in the future.

No one was angry, though one guy was impatient. Two people seemed actually happy to speak to me – they were both in marketing, if that has anything to do with it. They must be nice to callers in general.

It’s good to remember that sometimes I will get a pleasant reception, and rudeness is actually rare. I’m very low key – I just try and find out who I should speak to, say briefly what I do, and ask if I could send them some info. I’m not at all aggressive. Just putting my business out there to those who might need it.

I have to admit, I was basically scared the whole time. That’s why I stopped after 12 calls. But I also was on a nice high for about an hour afterwards, just so pleased that I’d carried out my plan and started calling companies.

I must keep it up next week. I need work soon.