Over-thinking Art Therapy

So we’ve been working on my anger issues in therapy and last week my T had me do this Crayon drawing, because I couldn’t talk.  I tried to talk but nothing would come out. It was really frustrating and so my T brought out the Crayons.  I sat looking at this box trying to figure out which color I wanted to use. Too IMG_0175many choices, plus I felt like I was being judge by which color I did choose.  I’m sitting there and going through my head is if I pick reds then T will think I’m angry or violent, if I pick blues T will think I’m icy/cold – unfeeling, if I pick yellow I’m trying to be something I’m not cheerful. After going through every color this way in my head and still not being able to pick a color, what do I do? I pulled out the black because it is what I always go for and that is what this whole exercise has made me feel – no matter what I pick it is all doom, gloom and darkness .

I have a crayon, now what? What am I suppose to draw?  I finally turn to T and ask. And T gives me an answer that makes me want to punch her in the face – “whatever you feel”. (WTF that suppose to mean?) If I knew that then I draw it.  Then T says “just start and it will come”, at which point Rose is screaming in my head ” this is so not logical, we neead a plan before you draw or you’re wasting paper.” Fighting to drown out that I just draw lines on top of lines. It all felt stupid.

I  left with therapy with this feeling I can’t even do that right. The next day I was still felling bummed out by the whole thing so I thought I’d try it again without anyone watching, so I didn’t have to feel like I was being judged.  I use my tablet so I wasn’t wasting paper and again it came out all lines. Getting frustrated I turned on the eraser and started erasing. And that’s when the calm came. I realized art therapy – as in drawing some didn’t help anything, but erasing it was great. It was like erasing everything that was wrong in my life and giving myself a new slate to work with. After that I let all my anger out on my tablet in a multitude of colors and shapes, then I erased like I wished I could erase all that anger from my life.  Finally art therapy that was logical.

 

 

Advertisements

Positive Thinking – Oh, How I Hate Thee!

The Antidote - Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive ThinkingI don’t know about the rest of you but when my therapist told me that I needed to start thinking positively, that it would lead to me being happier, all I could do was cringe. But then I got to thinking about it and I started to wonder do I even know how to ” Think Positively”. I really didn’t so I took myself off to the library to find some books on the subject. I ended up with books like The Power Of Positive Thinking and Everyday Positive Thinking. If these books work for you, great! In fact, more power to you, but after about 20 minutes with them, I wanted to scream. I can’t stand in front of a mirror and tell myself everything is going to be alright, when I KNOW it’s not. I could be hit by a car, struck by lighting or have something else equally horrible happen to me. Besides I HATE lying, and that is what I felt like I was doing with myself.

Fortunately when. I was picking those other books, I also grabbed “The Antidote – Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking” (I guess they couldn’t call it ” Happiness for People Who Think Positive Thinking is Crap).

If you feel the same way about positive thinking as I do that positive thinking often is used by mental health care providers to take the place of actual logically thinking, then this is the book for you. It talks about how our constant search for happiness is making us miserable, especially because we can’t even decide what will make us happy – what happiness really means for us individually. Let’s face it what makes me happy or what I see as happiness most likely is not your idea of happiness.

There are many wonderful things to discover in this book. I’ve already read most of it and it has been changing my view of life. I’m going to start it over because there is so much I want to remember and share, so I’ll be writing about them as I go though it again. Stay tuned for my post on Stoicism.

Excessive Cleaning, Repressed Memories, Habits and Therapist Headaches

Last week it came up in therapy that all of a sudden I was obsessed with cleaning. That all I wanted to do was clean, scrub, polish till everything was bright and shiny and, well clean. Normally I hate cleaning. In fact, I detest it. I’d rather go to the dentist and have my teeth drilled than vacuum, dust, mop, scrub, any of that. I barely can stand doing my laundry or washing my hair. Yet I spent an hour scrubbing the shower and I had to clean the whole house from top to bottom.

Trigger Warning: Repressed abuse memories

So what was causing this obsession – a memory. As my therapist and I trace the feelings back, Kit came out. Suddenly I was choking, shaking, biting my nails (a habit I kicked years ago), and wanting to scrub my skin raw. She was back in the shower having bad things done to her, and all she wanted was to be… Clean. See the connection.

So I’m totally freaking out, I can’t stop biting my nails and I’m feeling very unsettled. And my therapist chooses this time to bring up that maybe I need to see someone who is even more specialized in DID. Just what I need. I already have abandonment issues, issues with trust and a hard time dealing with all that is going on with me. Now my therapist is suggesting I start all over with someone new, not only that but a male therapist. Yeah, right! I really don’t trust men with this, like I want to change therapist and then go to a man on top of that.

To give her credit, my therapist did notice how much her suggestion, messed me up even more than I already was, and backtracked, but by that time the damage was done. Now I’m scared about trusting her, does she want to treat me? Or is she not sure how? Or does she want to get rid of me? Am I too much for her to handle? Now what do I do?

Revisiting My Alters

I have been doing a lot of work with my alters (the screaming voices in my head) as a way to one get to know them better and two find out what they want. This is all part of what my therapist has me working on – acceptance. To help this along they’ve rewritten their pages from their point of view. Only Lola and Edith have finished theirs so far. It is a long and stressful process which is leaving me exhausted, with really bad headaches. Because of this I can only allow my alters out for short burst of time to work on their stuff.

As they finish their pages I will be updating/reporting them to the site. This last week they have mostly been pushing the artistic side in the form of self portraits. I came across a sketch pad with figures that you add clothes, shoes, etc to, making them each individualized. Then you color then. The girls have been having a great time with this. The boys on the other hand, don’t care and are happy with the pictures we have that are a representation of them.

I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that going forward my alters (or at least some of them) may start posting their own thoughts or whatever here. I’ll try to get them to use different color text and sign their posts so we’ll know.

Writing Through the Pain

A passage from the Chronicles of Narnia has Aslan telling the magician’s nephew that to complete the quest for the silver apple he must GO THROUGH the ice- mountain, that he can’t go around it, over it or under it. imageThe same is true with pain, I can’t skirt it. I have to go through it, confronting the snarling beasts and demons. To do this I have to write, express, feel.

My therapist suggested keeping a journal of sorts to help get through the days. A place were my alters can run free with what they are feeling. For a while I was using my blog for this and it helped. Then, like they do, things happened and my entries got farther and farther apart. I’m not promising that everything I keep in my new journal will go to my blog, because even I don’t want to read everything I write, but some of it will be making the transition. I do know that I will be writing more, which will inevitably lead to me posting more on my blog.

It’s time for a reality check. I need to quiet the mob in my head and ground myself, get my bearings and come face to face with my truths and reality.

One of my favorite actress, Leslie Caron is quoted above on happiness and pain. I will know happiness when it comes along because I’ve already know enough pain to let me know what happiness isn’t.

 

Ghost of Yesteryears

TRIGGER WARNING 

I don’t know if this will trigger anyone or not but I putting a warning on it in case. I have been living with this image every imagewhere – when I close my eyes, when I look in the mirror, it feels as if it is burned on to my very eyes, so that everywhere I look I see it. I’ve tried to depict it in the picture, but even it can’t seem to do it justice.  What I see is a blonde angelic looking small child covered in blood. I know it’s Kit from the look of her except that she seems to be dripping blood all over the place – everywhere.

After talking about this in therapy, my therapist had me do some visualization exercises where I replace the bleeding child with how I wanted her to look – protect, strong, covered in armor. I worked really hard at replacing the one image with the other. To help, at least when I look in the mirror I’ve gone back to brilliant red instead of strawberry blonde for my hair color.image

Now instead of a bleeding child, I hear none stop crying, whimpering, screeching. It’s gotten so bad that I’m medicating myself almost to a coma just for a few hours sleep. I actually miss the bleeding child, even though she was disturbing, she was quiet. When I brought it up again in therapy today, my therapist says I needed to set rules and make my alters obey. First of all the word obey is a trigger for most of my alters. It’s a sure way to get them to NOT do what I want them to do. Second I have been trying to set boundaries/rules with them but that doesn’t always work – some days it does some days it doesn’t. I know that this is stress induced, but right now I can’t do much to change that.  I just wish for a better way of coping with this.

Stages of Life

stagesoflifeThe stages of life are Baby, Toddler, Child, Teenage, Young Adult, Middle Age Adult, Retired and Elderly. I’m in my thirties and should realistically be someplace between Young and Middle Age Adult, right?

***** Trigger Warning ****

Here’s my problem – a couple of weeks ago my therapist took me to what she calls her playroom – small table and chairs, a sand tray, games, picture books and a wall lined with action figures, animals (both real and mythical) and other figures. She asked me to look around and pick out some of the figures and put them in the sand tray; showing how I felt. I ended up with this blond girl flat on her back with an alligator, a lion and some half bull-half man beast attacking her while there were stop signs and stop lights all around her.  Once I was done, I couldn’t look at it. My therapist brought this to my attention and then asked me to fix it so that I could look at it and feel safe. The result – the alligator, lion and half bull-half man beast all were on their backs as far from the girl as possible, mostly covered in sand. The stop sign was buried and only the green light on the stop light was showing. The girl was standing up, free with no thing around her.  My therapist then started moving the alligator, lion and half bull-half man beast closer to the girl at which point, I was done. I started hyper-ventilating and switched I’m not sure but I think Sonja came out.

***** End of Trigger Warning ****

The only other part of that session I remember is my therapist asking me what I think it means to be adult? What would make me feel like an adult? Do I have anyone that I think of as being my idea of an adult? Due the trigger part of the above session, I was out of it (Sonja) for the better part of a week so I am just now coming back to these questions and this is what I’ve come up with:

  1. I don’t know anyone that I would really classify as Adult.
  2. I’m not even sure I know what that word means – other than responsible
  3. I have been and continue to be the most adult person in my life.
  4. I don’t want to be an adult. I have been one almost my entire life.

I realized that somewhere along the way I went for being a baby to an adult without any of the stages in between. I don’t want to be an adult now I want to be a child and a teenager. I want someone else to be responsible.

I was made into an adult at such a young age that I never got to be young, carefree and not responsible. I know that this is part of the legacy that abuse has left me.  Question is how do I change it when I’m not even sure I want to?