Avoidance

My case manager called prior to coming over yesterday in order to reschedule our appointment. Maybe, she sensed the hesitation in my voice or maybe, it was my inability to respond appropriately to her question of rescheduling because she decided to come over anyway. After she arrived, I struggled to find the words to describe the New Year’s Eve “event” that left me in such a fit of nerves. I don’t know what it is that prevents me from expressing myself verbally, but the words simply were not there. And for someone who is normally overly emotional, my lack of emotion in what I did manage to say was equally disturbing to me. She, of course, noticed the damage walking through the house to the living room and deduced an argument had taken place. She asked if I was safe to be here at home, if I felt safe with my boyfriend. I answered, “yes;” but I honestly have to admit that I do have concerns about his volatile temper. I finally managed to tell her that my bigger concern was that I felt less safe with myself than the issue of safety with my boyfriend. She mentioned that there is a 3 day respite program at the mental health center where I go that I would probably qualify for. The thing is, they would most likely focus more on medicating me than actually helping me cope with the issues I’m facing (welcome to the new psychiatry). Medication may help some people, but in my experience it only made my symptoms of depression and anxiety far worse. I tried that route for 13 years and got absolutely nowhere. Granted, I still haven’t gotten anywhere, according to my boyfriend; so I’m at a loss as to what to try next.

In the short amount of time that my case manager was visiting with me, I convinced myself that I was fine and needed no further intervention. I allowed my fear of what my boyfriend might say or do, should I choose respite care, and my fear of psychiatry, in general, to talk me out of even entertaining the idea. Luckily, she didn’t push the issue. I almost wish she had because being somewhere other than here would have saved me the lecture I got from my boyfriend early, early this morning. I’m still trying to process everything he said; hence, the reason I still haven’t slept. (We’re on a weird sleeping schedule due to his work hours; and since I have to run to the store today, I’ll be up at least 24 hours.)

My boyfriend’s lecture was based on my lack of progress in the last 4 months of therapy and his observation of my worsening symptoms and specifically my avoidance issues. He told me, “You’ve got to put an effort into it… and you haven’t been.” I will be the first to admit that I avoid a lot of situations, particularly anything that reminds me of past conflicts, not just the rapes. I avoid making decisions, even over the simplest things. I avoid social situations. I avoid people – period. I avoid sex. I avoid food. Obviously, this is something I need to work on. I know this. It’s something that came up in therapy one of my first visits. My therapist and I have only had 6 appointments, total, so far; and it’s going pretty slow. This has been a life-long problem. These issues are not something that can be fixed overnight. And pressuring me over them only makes it worse!

Between panic attacks, flashbacks, and dissociation, it’s a wonder I leave the house at all. Granted, the worst of the panic attacks have occurred here at home, lately. Then again, I haven’t been leaving the house much, lately, either. Typically once per week for grocery shopping is about it. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed anywhere is no fun, though. Crowded places are a holy terror! I’m so glad the holiday season is over. The flashbacks generally happen during sex, resulting in a period of dissociation. Unfortunately, I don’t always recognize when this is happening. I don’t think it happens very often; but honestly, I’m not really sure. In other situations I experience a feeling of, I guess, detachment? I’m not really sure how to describe it. It’s like my head goes foggy, like I’m just not there. If someone could just point out when I’m dissociating, maybe, I could figure out what triggers it. I don’t know how to do this for myself. I can’t control it if I don’t even know when it’s happening.

Probably the most hurtful thing my boyfriend said to me during his early morning rant was, “You’re a quitter.” Yeah… the truth hurts.

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