Green elephants and tightropes
It’s the first day in weeks where the sky isn’t blue but grey and I’ve actually had a jumper on! It’s quite refreshing to see some rain and wind but it has also made me realise that the sun does really affect my mood in a positive way. It doesn’t have to be hot but it makes me feel just a little more positive when I open the curtains to sunshine in the morning, even if some days that little bit of positivity might be all I have that 24 hours.
At the moment I feel like I am managing to keep a little more positivity than that in each day but that I’m walking a bit of a tightrope too. Things are ok so long as nothing steps in to push me off balance.
[TW] This week when I was at the Recovery College course, we were doing a piece of work on what our turning points were - what it was that made us turn the corner towards recovery. Without a doubt that was me getting to the point of no return, with the attempt I made on my life which left me in a coma, and then returning from it (although it took me many months to realise the significance of that). Thinking about that time is very difficult for me however and at the course I was overcome by the emotions that it provoked. That led to me having to leave the room to get some space and then before I knew it I was in full blown dissociation mode. I hate it SO much that I suddenly enter phases where I don’t seem to have control over my thoughts or my behaviour - or rather lack of it. Dissociation for me just leads to complete shut down and a lack of function. I get stuck in the time my head takes me back to and just can’t seem to shift things. Thankfully one of the course facilitators came to find me after a while and was very patient with me as I tried to become less of a zombie. It really helped to have somebody there who understood what was going on, particularly as it hasn’t happened to me for a long time.
The following day I had my CPA meeting. That went ok and was a good recap of where things are at the moment and how we hope to move forward. We also talked a bit about the changes I have managed to make over the past year or so and how I have managed to illustrate that I am now far more ready for therapy and more insightful than I have been in the past. That was good to hear even though I’m still not sure what it is/was that I have done to indicate that. My psychiatrist said it was like looking for a green elephant - you might never have seen one before but you would know it when you saw one. I guess now they’ve seen it in me! I was particularly touched by the fact that along with my psychiatrist and care coordinator, my GP did attend the meeting via telephone as planned even though he had been given the wrong date and actually had a full clinic that morning. It was so validating of him to still take part in my CPA and I was really surprised that he managed to juggle things to do so. (I actually felt very guilty about taking time away from his other patients but am trying to tell myself that he made the decision as to what to do, not me!) It was the first time in ten years that a GP has cared enough to partake in a routine CPA of mine and has really helped my self-esteem. It may seem insignificant or silly to some but it is another piece of evidence that I do matter and have value and it helps me to keep that tiny glimmer of self-esteem that I have found in recent months, alight inside of me.
Later in the week I had another meeting with the psychologist who had offered to work with me using EMDR techniques after our extended assessment sessions. Thankfully we have the agreement of the rest of the team to engage in that work now so we’ll be able to start soon. In preparation, we spent the session thinking of ways to make the experience as safe as possible for me. It seems fairly certain that going back into things from my past like we’re planning on doing is going to push my dissociation buttons and whilst I don’t want that because if I continue to dissociate it is going to impact on the likelihood of getting my driving licence returned, she also doesn’t want it because getting stuck in ‘shut down’ mode isn’t going to be conducive to the work actually working. So, we talked about methods to keep me grounded in the sessions as well as ways to bring me back when my brain does get stuck. That was really helpful and has increased my confidence in the plan. I know it is going to be incredibly difficult to delve into my past in such an explicit way and I am very nervous about the impact it is going to have on me, especially as I am already on that tightrope but hopefully it will be short term pain for long term gain.