Thursday, September 15, 2011

message from a woman to men - this is not news

First off, there's this. An essay written by a well-meaning MAN telling women, "I see it, I see what we do, I see what the culture does. It's insidious, and it's not cool." 

He's talking about gas-lighting in the name of getting away with poor behavior. On one hand, right on. On the other hand it irks me a little. Because women have been saying this for what feels like nearly our entire history, at least since the advent of property and women being tied to it. So this MAN feels pretty proud of himself for speaking out, for showing his solidarity with the womenz, all because, at the root, this legitimizes it. Just look at the title. We need a MAN to say it so it can be true. 

So yes, thank you Mr. Man. I know you meant well, and in an ideal world it might actually make a difference. I actually do appreciate you opening your eyes and ears and seeing some truth and then having the guts to speak it out loud, but until women can speak these truths without needing a man to legitimize it, we're still not there yet. And it pisses me off that I felt a little relief when I read it, like WHEW, now a man's said it...things are gonna be alright. Because yes, I too believe at my core that I have to have my experience legitimized. 

It's not a harmless problem to have in the deep unconscious, handed down generation after generation. Sprinkle on some childhood emotional abuses and I'm ripe to be duped over and over by the emotional abuses of addicts (diseased as they may be, the behavioral product is emotional abuse, let's just be clear). 

But then, when we turn to therapy or 12-steps for support, we find more of the same. The too many stories I've heard and read of wives/girlfriends being told in therapy that it's just porn, or maybe you just need to be more sexy for him, or in 12-steps - you've got to let go of expectations, or you're just as ill as him or don't take it personally, it's a disease.

Because gas-lighting and victim blaming are two sides of the same coin. 

And I'm just at this point where Bill Wilson, or uninformed therapists, or my partner's male SLAA sponsor who doesn't know me OR my experience, DO NOT GET TO DICTATE HOW I FEEL, nor do they get to tell me my feelings or behaviors are wrong, or misguided, or reactionary, or ill, or any damn thing at all. 

I will legitimize my own story, thank you very much.

P.S. I wanted this to be a much more eloquent essay but a) I'm too tired to write anything but a venty post and b) I'm tired of even having to think about such things. If someone else is less tired and more eloquent than me, feel free to expand on this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

brain states sure feel real at the time

I know the new blogger interface is meant to be more "intuitive", but it's only annoying me. I don't like change. Way to be predictable, I know. 

For the record, I am now convinced more than ever that neurofeedback is a gift from the gods. I missed a lot of NF time over the last month due to being away, wanting more talk time, and then canceling an appointment which I cancelled because I was a mess and couldn't get up out of the bed to drive two minutes down the road and sit with my sweet cherub therapist. 


She was a little harsh about it, but it set me straight. She manages my stubborn streak well. 

But here's my point. A lot of shit went down last week, and I was a hot mess but attributed it to all the goings-on instead of my brain-state. This week, more shit, but I'm calm. The only difference is that this week I have two back-to-back NF sessions under my belt. So Therapist and I agreed, no matter how much talk time I'm craving, or how stuck in the bed I feel, I must. do. the. neurofeedback at least once per week. 

I think we were both a little fooled by how well I'd been doing. Lesson learned and filed for future reference. My brain is resilient and responds extremely quickly to the treatment, but it's now obvious that the cPTSD is still alive and well and number one priority for my treatment plan. Particularly when I'm still having to live inside the "trauma field". 

So let's get to what's been boiling in the trauma field. Roi has taken on a new client. And I knew the moment he told me that he would be gone for the afternoon "consulting" that something was up. Here's the breakdown. The client is a woman. The consulting happened in her home. She's a massage therapist. She has no real budget for our services so she wants to barter.

There are a handful of reasons this is triggering and all kinds of wrong. Some is probably already obvious. First, there's the history with erotic massage. Which means he should have said no when his friend referred the client. Which means he should have said no to going to her home to consult. Which means he definitely should have declined on the offer to barter. Then there's the litany of contradictory explanations and excuses. He feels obligated because she's a friend of his friend. She's not a close friend. There's "some" money she'll be able to pay. It's not even a drop in the bucket and we have much bigger fish we should be focusing on. He wants to help a local business. He never wants to help local businesses, always complaining how they're a waste of time because they never have the money to afford our services. 

Both Therapist and a friend have pointed out I'm not going to be able to stop him doing what he does, but fretting over it, fighting over it, trying to control it just throws me off the plan I need to be funneling every precious drop of energy into. 

Yep. Right. Last week, not possible. This week? I've sent out two resumes, cleaned and organized piles of stuff (all the better to pack), and worked. 

Also hanging out in the trauma field smoking a cigar and looking smug is Kyd's relationship falling apart over trust issues. Seems his girlfriend likes to keep a selection of boys dangling, just in case. Sans neurofeedback I can assure you this would be setting off explosions in my head. By now I would have played out a dozen horrific scenarios in my head and worked myself into a frothy freak-out. Instead I was able to listen, offer a few words of comfort and advice, and trust Kyd to be ok. Basically not contribute to his stress with my own sense of urgency to smooth out his road ahead.

And you know, I'll be damned if he didn't handle it pretty well. Told her they needed a break, and was quite clear with me on why this is the right thing to do, and then put himself and his aching heart under the headphones to mix some music. I've got to trust my boy. Trust the tools nature and my teachings have given him. Trust that he's got to learn to handle his own bumps in his own road and my only job is to listen and help when asked. 

So yeah, neurofeedback people. It works.

Friday, September 9, 2011

in the dreams of good and evil

I haven't had enough neurofeedback lately and it's showing. I am being reminded, not-too-kindly, that my brain is still vulnerable to PTSD symptoms, and that talking to therapist or anyone else does little to help me in the intersections of triggers. 

Two nights ago I had terrifying dreams. There were two tracks, both interchanging, and equally chilling. I only remember bits of one. I was in a house, standing in an dark entrance hallway. Outside it was black and creatures of various sorts came to the door. I would sense their presence and have to let them in. Each time a harmless animal would rush in and then straight out through the back. The "good" animals I was somehow helping, but often they would be followed nose to tail by other animals, mostly neutral, but some were dark, low-lying, shadowy things clicking and skittering along the edge of the hallway and detouring off the hallway to the upstairs and I could never get the door shut quick enough to block them getting in. 

I couldn't let in the good without letting in the evil. 

Later, I was standing in the living room in a panic because I knew there was a fox upstairs. A shy little fox, and yet I knew it wasn't a fox. It was something else, some evil disguised as the fox, meant to trick me and do me harm and I wasn't going to be able to protect myself from it or convince anyone else in the house of the danger as long as it was in the house in the form a fox. I stood there sweating, eyeballs rolling in my head,  frantically searching for a way to protect myself. 

In a flash of insight I knew what I had to do, and when the fox came downstairs I wasn't fooled by it's small frame or timidness. I grabbed the thing by its face and squeezed its skull between my hands as I forcefully repeated, "I know what you are, I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE". After several seconds the fox exploded and transformed into one of the dark shadowy skittering things, and then vaporized.

I forced myself up and out of the dream then, just barely able to pry my eyes open and will myself to keep them that way until the dream had passed. 

Meanings seem evident. 

It makes me question whether it is safe for me to stay on here with Roi until I am financially able to leave without disrupting Lexi's life. Resilient as I may be, living in a trauma field day in and day out where every interaction is like opening that front door to let in the "good" but not being able to shut it fast enough to keep out the evil - who can keep their head in that?

I used to think, "a better person than I", but I've taken to recognizing that my life force, my will to live unencumbered, is strong and it is this part of me working within wounded parts of me that keep me resisting and clarifying and pushing back instead of playing games that do not come natural to me, or throwing in the towel and pointing the nose of the car in the direction of "family" next time Lexi and I are in it, or just plain not fighting. 

There's no perfect answer for how to be in this, how to breathe an air filled with toxins that change shape, odor, color, and opacity and only get the oxygen.

The neurofeedback - it's like an oxygen tank I get to carry around for a few days until it empties out. I need more of that to keep from losing consciousness. Less talk time in therapy, more physical time.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Therapist is really settling into her chair in a way I haven't seen before. She's got one leg over the arm now, the other leg tucked underneath the first one. We're talking about my "future", as in career and livelihood. It's never easy for me to explain what I want to do, and frankly, there's no real job title for it either. I have several "talents" that look unrelated, or abilities that suggest talents I don't actually have, and it's taken me a third of my adult life to circle around this mix of talent and abilities and wants to find the one or three common threads and how they fit together. 

I only started getting any real clarity a year ago, before the big bad sad, when I was happening to have a lot of lunches with a friend who was also a personal coach. She was the centrifuge to my handfuls of ingredients. We were meeting this way to work on some collaborative projects together, but after a time she was all, "Briar, you need clarity", and I was all, "I KNOW DAMMIT". So she asked me questions and I answered, and there was nothing new or surprising until we got past the point in the conversation where I would normally switch topics because I could feel the other person getting exasperated or overwhelmed or lost or bored. 

I never got much chance to work with what we pulled out of those conversations - by that time I was already clutching onto the edge of sanity by my fingernails. 

Therapist leans forward a little now as my throat clenches with frustration, my voice tighter and higher. "How long ago did you come to see me?", she asks as she reaches for my file. She shuffles through a few papers and announces, almost to herself, "June 9 weeks, just over two months." 

I'm not sure what she's getting at. She drops the folder back onto the table and looks at me, "It's rare that someone comes to see me in as much distress as you were in and makes this much progress in just two months, you know that, right? You're quite resilient." 

Her point, I gather, is that I'm being impatient. And I am. My birthday is next week, and I can't help but feel time is slipping through my fingers. One of my competitors in my industry has announced his book will be launched in November, he's already in editing stage. That could've been me and I blew it. And someone else has come out of left field with 1/8 the experience I have and will be presenting at the industry's biggest conference on MY GODDAMN TOPIC. That should've been me. I'm losing ground every day. I've already lost ground I can't get back. I'm not being pessimistic, I know how this shit works. I was positioned at the front of a cutting-edge wave, I had made incredible in-roads, but all those months I spent being depressed I dropped off the radar and other people moved in. Nature abhors a vacuum and all. 

I've got other plans, and I know I'll be ok, but no amount of well-meaning sentiments will convince me I didn't lose something back there in the quicksands of the Big Bad Sad.