Ive been thinking a lot today. Mostly I have been thinking about our teen years. So much happened during that stage of our life. It was before we were ever diagnosed with did, because we were unofficially diagnosed with did in 2001. But it was during our teen years, that we discovered we had any mental illness, namely depression, and an eating disorder. And it was during our teen years that the abuse came out, came to light, but I am not going to write about that now. What I am planning to write about was the bullying we endured twice during our teen years. The first time we were bullied, was when we were still in the boarding school in Dublin. For those who maybe dont know, this was a school for the blind. When we entered secondary school at age 13, was when the bullying started. It was intense. It was horrific and horrible. The girls who bullied us were very nasty and mean and would stop at nothing to cause us pain. Eventually we told one of our teachers, our class head teacher. She said shed sort it out, and she did. The bullying stopped and we thought wed gotten through it and it was over. Only a few years later, when we left the bording school and returned home to go to school at home, it started up again. Only this time we had a much harder time than before. We were in a school of over 500 pupils, all of whom could see, we couldnt as we are blind. At first when we went there it was a novelty to the other girls. Theyd never been in school with someone who was blind. Lots of them were eager to show us around, be our friends, take care of us. But of course this didnt last. When the bullying started, it got really bad really quickly. Theyd call us names. Theyd make us cry. Theyd do things to injure usfor example knocking us over when we were carrying our backpack, trip us going up the stairs, put superglue on our chair, you name it, they did it. It was when they tripped us while we were walking up the stairs that everything blew up. We broke our arm then and had to go to hospital. So then, the bullying all came to a head, it was found out by the teachers and principle. Of course this made the bullies very angry. They then started to do things outside of the school so they wouldnt be noticed. So while the teachers thought it had stopped, it really hadnt. It was escalating further and further. Eventually we couldnt take any more. Eventually we tried to end our life. We were taking Prozac and we overdosed on it. Luckily for us, our mom found us. We were rushed to the hospital and it was only then that we met our first psychiatrist, Dr M. Dr M diagnosed us as having clinical depression and anorexia. She put us on antidepressants. She continued to see us as an outpatient for over a year until she deamed us well enough not to see her any more. We still had to stay on our meds though. I supposed if the bullying hadnt happened, we might have never seen anyone and we may have never have gotten into the system as early on as we did. Sometimes though i wonder if becoming a service user of the services for mental health at such a young age was helpful. Im not sure still if I think it was or not. Thats part of our story and I hope someone out there is able to relate to it in some sort of way. It was hard for me to write and think back and remember the awful experiences of bullying and of our teen years. But I am glad I decided to open up a little bit more than I have done in the past about what happened to us.
We had our last therapy session before christmas today. We’ll be having a two week break now. It was meant to be three weeks but Eileen said today that she felt 3 weeks would be too long for us, so we scheduled a session for January 7th. It was nice that she did that for us, because she isnt working then, she doesnt start back to work until January 11th. So the fact that she did that and knew 3 weeks would be too much time for us to miss was great. She has such great awareness of how much we rely on her and need her support and I really appreciate that. Thanks Eileen!
Lexi was the first one out today in our session. For those who dont know Lexi is 6 years old. She is a self harmer and used to self harm quite a lot but now has not done it in a very long time. When she used to self harm she used to use razors. She also found it very difficult to feel emotions, or describe her feelings to anyone. After today though I am very proud of her. Today she did a lot of hard work with eileen and we are all so grateful to her.
She started off today telling Eileen that she was worried about not seeing her over christmas. Once Eileen told her that she’d be able to see us on January 7th Lexi calmed down. They went on to talk about yesterday, and winter solstace. Lexi told Eileen how a lot of us were struggling because of what yesterday was. Eileen said she’d been thinking about us yesterday and wondering how we were doing with the date that was in it. She asked Lex if she wanted to try something. A sorta experiment. Lex agreed so they started doing some work on breathing and it was incredible. Eileen taught Lexi how to breath in for four, and out for seven. Lexi was quite good at it which is weird because usually we are bad at breathing work. Eileen invited all the insiders to come to the common room and watch and participate in what her and Lexi were doing. So that is how I was able to know what they were doing. We all came and we did work on breath and breathing properly for about half an hour. Eileen kept telling us about how effective it would be and if we practiced it each morning after breakfast we’d get a lot better at it. Lexi and Eileen then worked on feelings. At first Lex said that her stomach felt flippedy, her legs felt wobbly, her arms were jumpy, her heart was racing and her breathing was bad. AFter the work we did on deep breathing things calmed down considerably. Eileen said lexi was doing great at noticing her body and describing her feelings. Lexi was so proud that she was doing it right. Eileen said to think of the breathing in and out as breathing in the now. The present. When memories come if we focus on our breath we can say to ourselves, this is now, this is 2015, we are safe, the past is past, we are not there now, we have a new life. The more we do it the more it will resonate with us. Its hard but I think it is worth practicing it. After doing all that Lexi was exhausted so Eileen said she could go inside and rest and she’d like to check in with me. When I came out I had a headache, and a stiff body. Eileen and me talked for a few minutes about switching and how we look when switching from one of us to another. Eileen said it kinda looks in between, if that makes sense. It sorta did. She said our eyes roll upwards and there is a shift, as we shift from one of us to someone else. Its interesting to me to hear someone else describe a switch. I also tried the breathing technique with Eileen. I wasnt as good at it as Lexi was but I tried and thats what matters, right? We talked about christmas plans and the weekend and other stuff. We talked too about Jasmine and I told Eileen she hadnt flooded me lately with feelings, Eileen asked me to try to involve Jasmine more in things, to let her become more aware of life now and how things are now for us. To let her experience happy moments as she hasnt had too many of those. I told her how over the weekend I’d tried to involve Jasmine in our night out with family, when I was getting ready, doing my hair and make up I invited her to be part of that. She said that was great and its good that I am doing that. She told me to try to let yesterday go if I could but she said she wawsnt invalidating our experiences but that that was then and before and this is now and we can make new memories. It was a good session and we got so much otu of it. I’m definitely going to practice the breath work over the holidays.
Hi, its Jasmine,
Yesterday I had the majority of our therapy session so I thought I’d write about it. Me and Eileen mostly talked about when I came to be. About how long I’d been with the system. And about what was gtriggering me right now and activating me. I told her I’d been with the body since our teens. But that in 2002 when we ended therapy with Attracta, how the pain was so bad and the devastation so great that the system just crashed, and I came out and said I could end the pain, because, its what I was programmed to do, is kill us when the pain gets too much. I tried that time to end it but failed. Each time I have tried to kill us I have failed. Mostly I’ve always overdosed on tablets. Eileen said I have a huge burden to carry. That being the one who always attempts to end the pain is huge and such a lonely place to be. She asked me if I didnt have to carry that what I felt I could offer the system. I had to think on that for a while but then I said because I am reflective, I think about things, I am not impulsive, I might be able to offer wisdom. Sheh said I didnt seem impulsive to her and I said no, that when I planned to kill us I always methodically planned it out. So we talked some more about that for a while. Then we talked some more about my activation and why I got so triggered. I told her that when Dr. Barry was working on the police report with Carol anne a few weeks ago it triggered me. Back in 2007 we were raped, I was part of that. And while I never made the initial police report afterwords, I did know about it and it did really effect me. So just talking about a report and what we would be putting in it sent me reeling. Eileen said its different now, that I have a choice. That Dr. Barry is just supporting us in sending in a report, but that it is our choice whether we pursue it or not. That that part is up to us now. Choice is a weird concept to me. I think because in everything in the past I didnt feel I had a choice. Eileen also asked me what I thought of going to college. Whether I was happy for Carol anne to be doing that. I said yes I was. That I thought it was a good idea because if I was at home thinking about death and suicide and other things I’d have more time on my hands to possibly do something and that would not be good. So I am glad we are in college. Eileen then asked me to make a deal with her. I hate making deals because usually I can never keep to them. But she asked me and I agreed. I was telling her that some members of our system had been hallucinating this week and that scares me, I cant deal with the psychotic stuff. She said she thought that maybe part of it was that they were afraid of me doing something to end it. So then she was like can you agree to take the suicide stuff off the table? Just for a couple weeks? Until christmas is over? I said I wasnt sure. Then she said if me and her continued to work together, would that make me feel better? I said I thought it would. So she said to me then, do you have any hope things will get better? I said a tiny glimmer maybe. So she then said ok, if you have a little bit of hope, that is all you need, now can we take the suuicide plan off the table and say we me and you will continue to work together each week? After christmas? So I agreed to it. Then she had me tell the entire system of our plans. I told them and they felt relieved. I just hope I can keep to it, it doesnt mean I wont feel suicidal, but maybe when I do I can reach out to my online friends, or blog or something. So that was our therapy session in a nut shell.
Yesterday after doing my exam I went to see Dr. Barry. It was a really good apt. I had decided the night before after thinking about it for a long time and after friends had advised me that I needed to talk to her about my anxiety and ptsd, as that’s been getting worse these last few weeks. Most of you know I am not a fan of meds. I will avoid taking them if I can. Friends had advised me to ask Dr. Barry to give me something for anxiety and also for insomnia. I had asked abouta med for insomnia a couple weeks ago and she’d given me 2 weeks supply of one, but then I hadnt taken it because I didnt feel comfortable doing that. Anyway I had decided yesterday that i was going to ask her for a med to help with the anxiety. So when we went in I started telling her about the previous day, when I’d felt so anxious and triggered that I just wanted to bolt. She asked me if I was able to pinpoint when it got worse, and I said I didnt have that awareness. She said I need to practice trying to become aware of the anxiety and what starts to heighten it and become mindful of it before it peaks. Easier said than done. I told her me and Eileen did that safe place exercise last week, remember the beach scene we did using EMDR? She was impressed and said to keep reinforcing that scene even when I dont need it because it is going to help me in the long run. Eileen had actually said the exact same thing to me last week. Eventually I said Dr. Barry, I’m going to ask you something but I am so scared to ask. Can I have a med to help with anxiety? She didnt say yes straight away. But she did say we’d talk about it. I told her how it was incredibly hard for me to ask for what I need, I was afraid of rejection, or that she might invalidate my needs. Rationally I did know she wouldnt, she isnt that way inclined. But my brain was in overtime, emotionally I was so scared and frightened. She asked me what would happen if she disagreed with me, I said I didnt know but probably the likelihood is that my world would come crashing down and I wouldnt ask again. She said she didnt disagree with me, and that she found it admirable that over the last year we havent really focused on medications, I told her part of the reason i was afraid was because I thought she might think I just wanted meds, an easy option, an easy way out of a hard situation. She said Carol anne, when do you ever ask me for meds? The answer is never. So that isnt even an option. I was glad she didnt think I was always looking for meds. The truth is I am kinda anti medication lol. To be asking her for them was huge for me. She said she wanted to wait until Mondays appointment, to see how I am doing then, but if by Monday I still wasnt any better she’d put me on lyrica again. I’ve taken it in the past for a couple of months. She said she thought lyrica was the best option for my anxiety, because you can come on and off it without much problems. And you dont have to take it for two weeks before you see the benefits of using it. I told her I dont want anything addictive, and I dont want anything that is gonna make me look drugged. She agreed. We talked about some doctors pushing meds, and I said I didnt like that approach. She said for things like insomnia and anxiety meds were a last resort and that there are other ways of coping with it, but so many people just want to resort to medications when it isnt necessary. I’m glad I’m not like that. It was a good appointment and I’m glad I decided to ask her for what I needed.
I’m bored so decided to try this. Who’d like to ask me something. Is there a question you’ve always wanted to ask me? Go ahead, ask me anything? I reserve the right to decline to answer, but I’ll try to endeavour to answer every question that anyone asks!
This could be fun!
Today I met with fiona and mark. It was a really productive meeting that lasted about an hour. Fiona asked me about my needs, and I told her how much I was struggling lately with intense ptsd symptoms. She asked me if she should talk to the staff, and I said I thought it might help. I told her how I had a hard time asking for support from staff. One example was the other day the fire drill went off, that triggered us to no end. I told her how that I felt the staff could have handled things better, they could have guided me out of the building for example, since Nitro didnt know the way and I had nobody else to rely on to get me safely out of the building. She said the staff probably werent even thinking about that. She said she’d tell them to check in more with me if they see that I am struggling. I suppose sometimes they dont really know…its not always apparent. She said she’d also talk to Eileen if I felt that would help. I said it might, but that I wanted to ask Eileen her thoughts on that first. So she said I could get back to her on that. She said my IAP is in January, an IAP stands for an individual action plan. We have one every 3 months to set goals and things. This will be my first one since I started last september. We talked a little about it and she told me how it would go, who’d be there and stuff like that. It will be me, fiona, one of my instructors and the manager of the college. She said Mark can be there if I want him to be which I do. I think his support has been invaluable to me. He’s been there every step of the way since I started. Mostly our discussion was around triggers, and training needs and she is going to feed back all that to the rest of the team. We set another date for early January. At that meeting we’re going to talk more about the IAP and trash things out surrounding that. I like that we get to meet monthly, it really helps and its nice to be able to feed back things to her and then she’ll feed them back to the rest of the staff so that I dont have to.