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09 October, 2007

Sufficiently Advanced Coping Mechanisms Are Indistinguishable From Sanity

A week ago today, I hit rock bottom and bounced.

I had a conversation with my husband about a communication glitch that was really unnerving me, which unearthed a whole bunch of tangled mess involved with my sense of overwhelming failure. That combined poorly with some ongoing stressors in my relationship with my liege and my ongoing state of somewhat questionable health.

Complete meltdown. Levels of shaking madness I haven't had for years, level of crazed. Crawled into bed with my husband and sobbed myself sick over what a terrible partner I think I've been to him, was not consoleable with his belief that I'm not as bad as all that.

The next day I dropped a note to a friend who highly recommended her shrink asking for contact information. The day after I called said shrink. By Friday afternoon, I had an appointment for a week later.

I've been muttering that I need a shrink for years. And there was always a reason I didn't get one. Hadn't gotten around to it. Hate making phone calls. We're moving, I don't have the time. Settling into the new place, which doesn't have decent public transit. Learning how to drive.

We're not getting a second vehicle any time soon. I'm not getting my license soon, either; I haven't been getting the practice in because I don't trust me on the road at the best of times, and certainly not when I'm shaking from stress already. Transportation is not getting easier, and I am not getting any saner.

I am tired of feeling crazy.

So I have this appointment. And I'm rehearsing in my head what I need to say, trying to build it up into enough of a rehearsed speech or something that I won't do what I've done in the past with shrinks, pull up the protective shell, not say anything important. Hoopjump to get through it and never show a vulnerability. That won't get me out of here. And I want the hell out.

I want to know what I should expect myself to be able to do. I seesaw wildly between feeling completely incapable of action and feeling that any failure to accomplish is a wicked and morally culpable slacking off, and I have no idea what a normal, unimpaired person should be able to do, let alone what is reasonable to expect of me. Where on the spectrum between "suck it up and stop whining" and "anything you accomplish in this state of damage is pretty much bonus" do I actually fall? I have no idea. I talk about things that I consider minor, not comparable to people with real problems, and get responses of, "That seems like a big deal to me", and I just don't know. Am I describing it inaccurately, or do I just have no acquaintance with normal, or what?

I want to work through the issues of having a probably-Borderline parent, speaking of 'no acquaintance with normal', want to know how to build a sensical sort of reality for myself. I want to know what of the damage done to me can be repaired, and how much I just need to build compensations for, brace my brain with structures so that I can handle the world.

I want to dismantle the complex of damage that leaves me feeling like a catastrophic failure as a wife, with its roots in lasting damage from the assault, poor depression management, some reality issues. I want to know how much of the lingering assault damage is mendable. I want better coping mechanisms for all these mind-processing defects. I want, maybe, to know what a normal cognition might look like, and what direction I need to shove myself in to approximate it.

I want to be okay.

I'm tired of being crazy.


Anonymous said...

I don't know where the shrink is, but drop me a line if it would be convenient for you to stage from Yorq.

I'm glad you're getting help, and glad that you've got a good recommendation. *hugs*

So I have this appointment. And I'm rehearsing in my head what I need to say, trying to build it up into enough of a rehearsed speech or something that I won't do what I've done in the past with shrinks, pull up the protective shell, not say anything important.

You could rehearse it onto paper - you're a very good writer.

If it might help, you could even bring a printout with you, and use it to communicate if you found yourself unable to articulate things to your satisfaction, or if the conversation ends up not covering things you want to make sure to convey.


Anonymous said...

I wish you all the luck in the world. It's hard - it's damn hard, both the suffering and any potential possible attempt at curing any of it.

*hug* If you need someone to talk with about it, do look me up.

Anonymous said...

I was also going to suggest the idea of communicating on paper; there have been a number of times that I've found it useful for giving my counselor an infodump of what's going on with me. (The thing about talking with a counselor is that it takes a lot of time, and goes into things deeply. It's hard to cover a vast scope of things in an hour-long session.)

Another thing you could do is make a collection of blog entries and bring those to leave with her. You've said quite a bit of things here, and some other places, already.


Daisy Deadhead said...

(((kisses and hugs))) Know that you are in my prayers and goodvibes. I honestly think you need a loving and understandable elder, not simply a doctor; but then, as our communities have dwindled (result of advanced rapacious industrial capitalism), we no longer have that dotty aunt around, who would always let you cry your eyes out and then feed you sandwiches. So, the doctors took over that gig. (As Barbara Ehrenreich wrote, we now see that what the women were historically doing was actual DOCTORING!: When it is assigned a dollar value and men elect to do it.)

In short, wish I could be there to give hugs and herbal tea! ((hugs))

In your case, really a matter of "too much too soon"--as the New York Dolls famously said! ;) Some people can careen through lifestyle and relationship changes seemlessly and actually gain energy from it--and some of us get snagged up in all kinds of ways. The trick is to get our hearts and minds; bodies and souls, working TOGETHER, not against each other!


And BTW, don't forget this one: This, too, shall pass.

antiprincess said...

peace and strength on your journey, darlin'.

good luck at the doc's.

Anonymous said...

Ooof. Starting therapy sucks. BEING in therapy sucks. But there's no way around it sometimes, and you can find some cool stuff inside yourself if you dare look. :)