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I was browsing the surplus store in town for art supplies, and this is what I came across, in between crayons and garden hoses.
I really want to know the story of why these were created. I bet it’s hilarious and involves copious amounts of vodka.
He’s even got a hammer and sickle birthmark or tattoo on his forehead.
Sick. Again. July 7, 2013
Uck. Sick again. I’ve spent a lot of the afternoon in the bathroom with a novel, which is what I did at Sheppard Pratt. But hey, at least here I have my bathroom. There we had two bathrooms and twenty people. You do the math. It’s even more fun when you have to go SRSLY RITE NAO and the only bathroom is clear on the opposite end of the unit. I have no TMI filter, but I’ll try not to be too graphic. I’m sure you guys have good imaginations.
To add insult to injury, my computer appears to have fried its poor little brains. My google-fu informs me it’s a common problem with this model and probably requires a new motherboard. Like I can afford that.
I’ve got to find a gastroenterologist here. I guess I need to slow down with adding new foods back. At SP, I was basically eating the same four meals: peanut butter and jelly on white bread, Amy’s red beans and rice burrito, pasta with marinara, and Amy’s teriyaki bowl. I could eat cooked vegetables without seeds, and bananas were the only fruit I could eat. (The dietician told me I could have apples without the peel, and she got really confused when I asked her how I was supposed to peel them with plastic spoons or forks. She was not a brain surgeon.) I got so excited about real food that I added in a bunch of things. Now I don’t know which one I’m reacting to. I guess I need to back off. 😦
At least I’m not in pain anymore. I have a high pain tolerance (yay dissociation), and that is the worst pain I’ve ever felt. When I first got to the ER, I refused pain meds. Five minutes later, I was saying, “Give me ALL THE PAIN MEDS.” They gave me dilaudid, I think, but it did almost nothing. At several points while I was in the hospital, it got so bad I was crying. I don’t think that’s EVER happened. I’m very glad that’s better. But I do need to find a GI doc here so I can avoid that happening again.
I just hate feeling so out of control of my body. Right after the diagnosis, I was really struggling with it, having lots of flashbacks and body memories. There was excruciating pain that I wasn’t causing and couldn’t escape. It felt like I was once again suffering the consequences of other people’s crimes–UC is strongly linked with stress. I knew it wasn’t the same as the abuse, but it FELT the same. My therapist had me write out some past v. present stuff, but it didn’t change the feelings, either. Some of it comes from parts, but I haven’t been able to get much communication going about it.
It just feels like another legacy of abuse. My parents aren’t the ones suffering. If what happened wasn’t my fault, then why am I the one who has to deal with it for the rest of her life? It’s not fair.
One of the things I enjoyed at Sheppard Pratt was a bookbinding group the occupational therapist ran, where you got to make your own journals. I made four in the time I was there.
It’s a pretty involved process: you make your covers, measure, do math for your page size, check your math, get someone else to check your math, cut your pages, fold your pages in signatures (5 sheets/10 pages), poke holes in your covers and pages, and sew it all together. Fun, though, since I like working with my hands.
Lonely July 4, 2013
I’m frustrated with myself.
I’ve been home all of three days, but I’m already feeling alone and disconnected. I guess I should’ve seen that coming. I let myself get spoiled: I spent four months in a place where I always had somebody around to talk to who understood, and I let myself get dependent on that. Now I’m back to the real world, where most people don’t understand trauma and dissociation, and I have no friends or anything. And I’m sad.
I’ve also done zero internal communication since I’ve been home. I know I should, and I can’t even explain why I’m avoiding it. I guess I just don’t trust that my team would know how to help me if things got difficult. Their hearts are in the right place, but they don’t have experience.
I’m afraid. I don’t like admitting that.
It’s not like it was easy at Sheppard Pratt. God knows it wasn’t, and I spent plenty of time curled up in a ball crying, and there were a number of times I wanted to punch someone. Still, I was surrounded by people who understood trauma and DID–the other patients, too, not just the staff.
While I was there, my grandfather asked my social worker to keep me there longer and offered to pay for it. My reaction at the time was, “What the flying fuck?” but without the swear words, since we weren’t supposed to use them. But there is at least one part who wishes I had stayed forever. There were a lot of infuriating aspects to being there, but at least I was around people who understood what I was dealing with. There’s a kind of safety in that.
I wish I had real-life friends in my area with DID. I don’t want to feel this alone with it.
Back! (Well, almost) July 1, 2013
I’m on the train home! It was interesting getting there–my shuttle was late, so I got there right in time for the final boarding call. Then I tumbled down metal and concrete stairs (just bruises, no serious damage), then had an asthma attack and had to dig through my bag for my inhaler. Then I got to Wilmington and realized I left my purse in the shuttle–luckily, without the cash or debit card. Fun morning.
I’ll get to Springfield around 3:00 this afternoon, and from there it’s about 30-45 minutes back to Northampton.
It’s been an interesting four months. I’m sure I’ll write more about it later, but it did help in a lot of ways. But I’m glad to go home, too. Funny and not-so-funny stories will follow.
I can stay in my apartment month-to-month, which is a relief. At least I have a home until December. But I can’t keep Winston. I can’t really talk about it without crying, and I don’t want to do that on a crowded train. It’s going to feel so empty without him.
I also caught a fun autoimmune disease there–probably ulcerative colitis but possibly Crohn”s. I spent a week in the medical hospital, and I’ve never talked so much about my poop in my entire life. And I’ve already heard every lame joke about feeling like shit or losing my shit. (Okay, I confess I made most of those lame jokes.) And let me tell you exactly how much fun it is to have horrible GI issues while you’re somewhere with twenty bathrooms and two people. Also, the worst pain I’ve ever felt, and I have a pretty high pain tolerance.
I’m doing better now, though. On the highest doses of both the meds for it, and lots of new dietary restrictions. Basically, just don’t eat food.
I’m on a bunch of new psych meds too. My psychiatrist there really knew what she was doing. Some people didn’t like her because she’s reserved and emotionally undemonstrative, but I got along well with her. I really liked my therapist, too. I had some (cough cough) issues with some of the nursing staff, but others I liked. I got along well with the art therapist and the occupational therapist especially. I’ve got a bunch of artwork I did, mostly a series of mandalas, and I did some leather working and bookbinding. I’ll post some pictures sometime soonish.
It’s nice to be free again. I worry how I’ll do back in the real world–god knows my train near-disaster didn’t go so well–but I guess I have to wait and see how things go.
Update #3 April 5, 2013
I managed to get Sara last night by phone and we had a nice chat.
Things seem to be going along fairly well 🙂 She’s still in sync with her psychiatrist and her individual therapist and I think they’ve finally realized how smart she is. They let her out of a lot of the DBT stuff and have her taking part in groups that are based on processing (work getting done….forward momentum rather than sitting and listening for gazillionth time how to find your safe place and use breathing techniques). She also gets to take part in a few art therapy groups which she said she liked…she made a leather-bound journal the other day.
She said the therapy was good but the ‘homework’ was really heavy and triggering. She told me about a really bad night when she broke down and really struggled. They seem to be pretty responsive at SP though…they were watching over her (somewhat uselessly) but, as she said, she survived it. She’s such a strong girl.
Of course, she tried her best to sound chipper and happy, like we were having a chat on a Sunday afternoon over tea. It was hard to hear that when I knew she was hurting so much. She’s very much like me in that way (a lot of us, I think), trying to make sure everyone else doesn’t worry over us. I told her that I knew how hard it was and that all of us were thinking of her, missing her.
I did tell her about Pen and Zoe’s puppies (almost forgot!). Her entire soul brightened for a moment while we talked about them. Sara said she hopes there are lots of pictures for her when she comes back. 🙂
Overall, I think she’s okay. I just wish I could go visit and give her a hug. Words kind of get lost when dealing with things so deeply attached to our souls.
That’s about all for this update. I hope everyone finds a moment of pure happiness today, however fleeting.
Update #2 March 16, 2013
Just got off the phone with our girl. She’s sounding quite well! She even had me laughing here and there as we chatted about her days at SP. There are a lot of people in her group right now although she says they split them into two often. She has to do the group therapy thing (I don’t think anyone likes doing group. I hate it…) and they’re doing all the standard imagery/self focus lectures. I asked if she thought she was getting much out of it so far and she said yes and no. Therapy is great but all the time that is wasted drives her up the wall. I can totally see that frustration as well.
We talked for a while about her puppy and how great he did on his behavioural test to get placed in a foster care home. He’s out getting all socialized with new people and probably animals too but she’s missing him (I’ll bet he misses her just as much…such a cutie pie that pup).
Overall, she’s doing okay, staying strong, and working through it all. She also pointed out that she’s managed not to murder anyone so far…lol.
Sara sends her love to you guys. I told her you were all cheering for her. 🙂
I’ll update you guys again next week sometime.
Contact March 6, 2013
Good News! I finally hit the right time to call and connected with Sara 🙂
She is doing okay, not feeling great but still pushing on. She told me that she was having a hard time with the restrictions and I couldn’t blame her when I heard, they took away her lap top, phone, Nook and knitting. I guess they want patients to have no distractions other than … healing? (I’m not sure I agree with that term but I couldn’t think of what to call it otherwise).
The usual issues with things like food she can eat are getting sorted out. She said her psychiatrist was okay and didn’t seem to be the type to throw meds at every patient, which is great.
Overall, she sounded sad but strong. She’s sticking it out to see how much they can help her, trying not to form opinions on anything just yet…only two days into treatment.
The phone, of course, it a hot commodity in her ward so I told her I’d give her a call next week (mon/tues). I’ll update you guys then.
All the best!
No Update Yet… March 5, 2013
It’s Grainne posting for Sara. She asked that I pop into her blog to let you guys know how she’s doing while at SP. I’ve called the ‘patient’ line several times yesterday and today but it’s not been answered. I’m assuming that it’s only answered during certain times…? I don’t really know. I’ll keep trying it and if I can’t get through by tonight I’ll try their main line and see what’s up.
Sorry not to have much news. Will update as soon as I can.