Unraveled

I’ve been doing some knitting this week. I used to knit a lot, but when my depression got bad, I just didn’t feel the urge. I was looking for something to do to help “decompress” after work, to make a space to transition from my work world to my home world. It’s soothing; the repetitive nature of it smooths out my anxiety (which hits, like clockwork, each day around 4pm) and allows me some quiet time to move into the next phase of the day.
Knitting is interesting. One string can be pulled and pushed around and through itself to become a fabric of your choosing. You are the one in control, and have the final say in what that string ultimately becomes. There is  a certainty to it that I find comforting.
In a way, knitting parallels life—you are the master, sort of. Any number of things can go wrong, and you have to figure out how to fix it, how to live with it, or just completely unravel the whole thing and start again.
Dropping a stitch sucks. If you drop a stitch, there’s a chain reaction, and all the stitches below that one will unravel. One careless moment, and you’re left holding this thing in your hands and wondering how the hell you got into this mess.
Oh, how I know this feeling…
You can fix it, if you want to. You can follow the trail of dropped stitches to the beginning, and carefully put those stitches back where they belong. It’s tiresome and easy to screw up, but you can do it. Or you can learn to live with the hole. It all depends on when you notice your error, and how much it means to you to get it right.
I started doing EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) a couple of weeks ago.
The first session, we set up an outline for the process, which basically means going through a bunch of questions with the therapist and detailing the instances of trauma I remembered, and what I felt when thinking about those episodes. So, pretty much 90 minutes of crying. Not pretty crying either—snot-nosed,swollen-eyed sobbing. When we were done,  I felt like a wet dishrag hanging over the side of the sink. Wrung out and exhausted.

Unraveled.

The second session, you begin the reprocessing. You start going through those traumatic experiences, while “reprogramming” your brain using bilateral stimulation. You begin to quiet those feelings of terror and shame and anger. You reprocess that information so it doesn’t hurt anymore; your memories are just memories, instead of land mines on a hair-trigger.
It’s kind of magical, actually.
I certainly didn’t think that I would lose the damaging feelings that I had about those traumas, but I did. So now I’m trying to pick up my dropped stitches, patiently pulling the loops up and putting them where they belong again. It’s slow, and frustrating, but I don’t really have the option of unraveling and starting over. I can pick up the stitches, or I can learn to live with the gaping hole.

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Space

I’ve been neglectful. I am supposed to be posting on this here blog, and writing my book. I have done neither. It’s getting rather ridiculous, actually, how many times I’ve tried to corral my thoughts and put something down. I keep grasping at ideas that float past, but they wriggle away like little fish. Slippery buggers…..

I wish I had some good excuses for not doing the work of writing, but I don’t. I just. haven’t. been. writing. AT. ALL. Besides, you know what they say about excuses, right?

I’ve been paying too much attention to the political hootenanny masquerading as democracy in action. The never-ending bullshit crawls into my head and makes me want to yell and throw things, and I really don’t want to be that person.  There’s so much background chatter lately, it’s made me feel like I’m fumbling around in the dark. My internal voice whispers, while the rest of the world is shouting. Disconcerting, that. I’m trying to listen more closely, to pay more attention to the thoughts coming from the inside and less to the noise on the outside worming its way in.

space-03

It’s been tougher these last couple of weeks than usual. I just started doing  EMDR therapy with my new therapist. Gotta tell you, that shit is draining. I did the first session and spent about 3/4 of it just crying. I know the end result will be worth it, but I feel like I’m walking down a road that’s strewn with broken glass. Ouchies. Pulls out a bunch of horrible things you’ve repressed, so you not only get to think about your trauma in the details you recall, but you find new ones too….yikes. And I’m finding it’s making some of my more unpleasant PTSD symptoms float up to the surface.

I have always felt like I am not “good enough.” It was drilled into my head from a young age that I was unworthy of any love or consideration. I was, at best, OK. Just something taking up space. At worst, I was a terrible burden, selfish and stupid and all manner of disgraceful things. No matter how well I have performed, how hard I’ve worked, how successful I’ve become, I still feel this paranoid suspicion that it’s all a lie. It’s a lie because I’m a failure at being human.

I’ve spent the last several years really digging into this, and learning how to be more accepting of myself. Learning that having needs is normal, and it doesn’t make me a bad person. Learning to put myself first sometimes. Learning to stop beating myself up.

This last week, since I did the EMDR, I am full-on paranoid and anxious. I made plans with my BFF to go back to the East coast and see some friends. I haven’t seen some of them in about 25 years, and some I’ve never met in person, but we are in fairly regular contact on Facebook, so I should be excited, right? Nope. I’m paralyzed with terror. There’s no reason to be. They are good people, and I’m going to have a lovely time, but I am so paranoid (because surely they’ll decide something is wrong with me and they don’t want to be my friend) that I can hardly swallow. I feel like it’s the first day of junior high again. Thank the gods new and old for Xanax…

I thought when my meds had gotten to a good spot, I would feel great and all would be well. And to a degree, I do, and it is. But now I have to clean my closet. There’s some shit waaaayyyy in the back there, and if I don’t pull it out, it will just stay back there taking up space. I want that space back. I want room for my new, joyous stuff. This old paranoid, gloomy shit needs to go. Packing it up is going to be tough, but I can do it. Then I’ll have plenty of space for the good stuff. The stuff I want to put there.

Who doesn’t want more space?