Sunday, May 31, 2009

Authority Figures

This is mostly a rant...with some relevance to my mental health:

I recently moved from a huge farm outside the city to a house in the city. As my husband and I have separated I needed to bring my dog with me. When I adopted my dog as a puppy last year I thought long and hard about the ease of accessibility to a place he could run. He is a boxer; a breed which requires a lot of exercise. The farm was a perfect place for him to run, and run and run in a safe cars, no people, no kids etc., just acres and acres of pure puppy joy.

I never expected my marriage to fail, and staying on the farm was always a longterm plan. Well of course that failed and here I am in a small home, in the city, surrounded by potentially dangerous dog situations: cars, lots of people everywhere, kids running up to the dog, all kinds of things to chase and a difficult environment for a young dog (1 year) to navigate without lots of structure, secure running areas and tons of training.

So I walk my dog 2-4 times a day on a leash; but he needs to run and play and get out some of his energy. So I tried taking him to the dog park. The last three times I did he was either hurt or became severely ill for days after the park with some kind of flu like illness. One of those times I had to take him to the emergency vet to rehydrate him. It cost $1000.oo; too much for my pocketbook.

I began taking him up to this big beautiful park by my place. There are tons of fields and two fenced in ball fields. I took him into the fenced area so he could run freely without getting hit by a car, or jumping up on some stranger, running towards and scaring some mother and child. He ran and ran, played, frolicked, jumped and I was able to do some great obedience training with him. That all ended Friday.

A city bylaw officer approached me in the field. He stood more than 6 feet tall, approached me with the swagger of an angry policeman and promptly told me I was in contravention of the animal bylaws and was to be charged $250.00 for having my dog off leash and $150.00 for having him in a city playing field.

Everything about the situation felt suddenly terrifying and traumatizing. I could feel intense fear, anger and a sense of being treated unjustly well up inside me. That awful feeling that I was going to cry sat in my chest, throat and on my lips overtook me. I felt that on top of all the fines and lecture and intimidation I was about to let him see how much he had hurt me. I felt sick.

He lectured me for about 10 minutes. All the while standing far too close to me and looming himself large over me. I felt like a bad kid. I felt like I did when my Dad was punishing me. I felt scared it would escalate; frightened and powerless.

Eventually he told me he would give me a warning this time, but as I walked away I began to sob. He scared the crap out of me. The fear of punishment, the belief that I would lose $400.00 from my already limited and over-run budget, the anger that I was trying to do the right thing and was to be punished for it anyways was too much. The bullying behaviour of the officer as he asked me why I was in the park and where I lived, and my inability to express my right to privacy, made me so angry at myself. As I walked away from him, head down, tail between my legs...I had a complete meltdown.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Pain and Tears

I seem to have a never ending supply of tears. Why is that? It becomes especially apparent in my therapy sessions with Dr. K (or any other "therapy" sessions, formal, or informal),even if someone asks me how I am and actually wants me to tell the truth; and not say some lie like "fine.

Some people have told me they cannot go to therapy because it is too painful, or because all they ever do is cry. In some ways I look forward to therapy for these reasons.

If I don't go to therapy all my pain stays inside me and eats away at me and makes my symptoms worse. There is something comforting about knowing you can share your otherwise carefully hidden pain with someone else. It feels intensely powerful to be able to get all that pain out into the open, to toss the words that represent so much sorrow and anger and anxiety, out into the open room. To be able to share your feelings of strangeness, loneliness; "otherness" with another human being. To take a leap of trust and share anything you need to with another human being is cathartic and soul enhancing.

I sometimes think I should stop therapy. I often sit down in the chair across from Dr. X and think I have nothing to say, nothing to contribute. I sometimes feel I repeat my stories, my pain, my sadness, my struggles...over and over and over. Sometimes I sit in painful silence not knowing what to0 say, or not having the energy to say anything. Dr. X says that's okay. It is okay to sit silently in the room with him.

It seems counter intuitive. Therapy is for talking isn't it? For me there is also some kind of magical nature embedded in therapy with Dr. X. It never happened to me in therapy with anyone else. I sit across from my pdoc and often the anger, rage, anxiety and sadness quiets, dissipates, disappears. His demeanor, his patience, his attention, his acceptance and compassion seem to melt away some of my symptoms. I feel a sense of relief I rarely feel in the outside world.

I think my tears flow so freely in therapy, because I feel it is okay to let go, to cry, to not hide how I feel. I believe they also flow from feelings of inadequacy, guilt and shame that I need to address in therapy. I feel small and unworthy in front of people in authority. I cannot cry and let out those feelings in front of most authority figures. I can in front of Dr. X. He has worked hard to help me see us as equals, to help me learn not all men, not all authority figures, not all people in positions of power want to take me down, punish me, or hurt me.

I cannot believe how ingrained and generalized to almost the entire population (on some level I can see "authoritativeness" in everyone I know...everyone is better than me because I feel like such a loser for being how I am). So I cry because in situation when I am in front of other authority figures I feel scared, unworthy and afraid of punishment...I think I still unconsciously feel this way in front of Dr. X. I am so scared he will leave me, get sick of me, or think there is no point in continuing, or he will become unwell and leave.

I am so scared I will be abandoned because I am not a worthy person. This dynamic reflects my fears about others leaving me. The tears flow and flow and flow because I constantly feel afraid of rejection. My tears are defensive.

When I was little and growing up, I think I subconsciously learned that tears made my Dad stop belittling me. It stopped his teasing and torment of me. It stopped him hitting me. It decreased the pain in my life. I think my brain still makes me cry to protect me. I believe also I cry to release all the pain I experience or have experienced. Crying is a physical release for my mental pain. It feels so good to cry. It calms me.

So I hurt and I cry in therapy, but for me those are two huge reasons to keep going. I need to release all that sadness and pain. I need to share these with someone I trust and believe in. I need to know I am not alone in my struggles. I need to know that there is at least one person in this world who will support me and help me and care for me no matter what I am feeling. Maybe I will never be completely "well", but the support helps me continue to try.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is This a Crazy Reason to Stop?

Over the past few weeks I have decreased my Prozac from 60mgs to none.; not because the Prozac did not to seem to be helping increase my mood, but because I cannot orgasm.

While I decreased the Prozac, I increased my Trazadone to 300mgs to try to offset the decrease. It hasn't helped much, except overall my sleep has been better. On Thursday I began taking Cymbalta (Duloxetine) to see if it will help me as an antidepressant.

I feel like hell. It is as though I have been run over by a truck, maybe a steamroller, and on top of the physical pain, I am mad as hell about it. I feel gross, tired to the point of exhaustion. I cannot think straight, or clearly. I feel detached and always disappearing or dissociating. I am so depressed I am having difficulty managing. I am raging angry.

The anger has been getting worse and worse. I hate this feeling. I start grumbling to myself about all the misdeeds everyone is doing to me; cutting me off in traffic, saying mean things to me in class, being unhelpful in retail etc. I also feel much more paranoid about what others are thinking about me, what others ulterior motives are, what others are trying to do to me. I feel so angry I am raging inside. I know from previous experience this is a mood state, but I have no idea why it happens, or how to stop it from continuing. I feel so frustrated.

I think maybe the mood is part of my crashing from going off Prozac; either that or the new antidepressant I am trying. On one level I believe a healthy sex life for me is part of a healthy life. On another level I think maybe I am daft for stopping Prozac for the hopes of an orgasm. I balance wanting to live and orgasm and you'd think wanting to live would come out the clear winner.

Without overstating the value of an orgasm, it is difficult for me to picture a happy life without them at all anymore. Sex is important to me. It is relaxing, calming, soul enforcing, connecting. I enjoy sex without orgasms, but not if I never orgasm. When that happens I begin to feel frustration and anger at my situation.

So I am still unsure. Is a low mood the rest of my life worth a few orgasms here and there? Am I insane? Does anyone else have this problem? How do you deal with it?

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cycling Downward

Sometimes life seems like a something I am forced to endure. I am, once again cycling rapidly down into hell despite all the help, medications, support and treatment I receive.

There have been so many times when I have believed euthanasia would be the kindest treatment. In the paper yesterday there was an oped piece about how people who believed in euthanasia were stupid. Her argument was based on someone saying an 18 year old depressed person should have the right to die. The writer wrote the piece as though it were impossible to be rational and hold this position.

I kept thinking how clearly I could see where this might be the kindest treatment for some 18 year old people, along withsome 20, 30, 40, 50 year oldpeople and older people as well. It doesn't come down to age for me, but for suffering.

I can understand how an 18 year old might have gone through so many treatments, attempts to help them, and nothing working. I kept thinking the woman writing the piece has no clue how painful depression can be or how it can destroy your soul and all your hope and desire to live..

Even when I feel okay there is always an underlying desire to die. Certainly, even when I become high I would understand if the other side of me ended it all. Life is just too hard to manage sometimes.

When I began psychiatric treatment, and when I was in therapy all the times before that, I expected to get" "better". My definition of better requires I become well like I am when I feel "right and good" AND that I stay that way forever.

It used to happen. I used to become better for really long periods of time, sometimes a couple years at a time. That created hope in me. It made me think that it was possible to live a normal life, to want to keep trying.

I think the reality is now that I need to accept I will cycle forever; accept my mood will go up, but crashing eventually is a certainty. So why bother trying? why stay in treatment? Why take medications when you aren't any more protected from your depression than without them. I am really wondering if it is worth trying anymore.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Disappearing Act

Sorry for the disappearing act. My life has been turned topsy turvy over the past 2 months. I have reopened my blog to all viewers, so you should not have to sign in anymore. Thanks for the support and patience.

For those who were unable to view my blog over the past couple months, here is an update...

1) A couple months ago I became reacquainted with a man I have been really attracted to for a while . Given I was married I felt an obligation to my husband to remain faithful.

2) This time when we crossed paths (this man and I) there was an unbearably powerful electricity between us. I tried to stay faithful, but given the continuing and long term difficulties in my marriage and this new found intense attraction towards another person I began an affair.

3) Within a week or two of beginning the affair my husband discovered what was happening.

4) He kicked me out of our house.

5) I went to a hotel with my dog and began searching for a new home. This was extremely difficult because of the dog. No one wants to rent to a dog owner.

6) Finally I found a place, and over the past month have been moving in and getting organized and settled in my new home. I am almost settled thanks to the help of my girlfriends H and E and my new boyfriend.

7) I have been fraught with guilt about the way I left my husband and how much I hurt him. Despite our differences he was my partner for 18 years and I care about him. I feel guilty, but I also feel a sense of self and individuality that I have not felt in years. I feel like I molded myself and forced myself to become what I thought my husband wanted. Whoever I had become was not me. I feel I am on my way to becoming a stronger me. I feel my "power" coming back.

8) I really like my new friend. He is very approachable, kind, considerate, loving, open, and warm. I feel good about myself with him

9) Welcome to my new life, my new adventure, my times of intense and I believe positive change.

Thanks for reading.