Trauma Responses

Image with Trauma Responses: Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn with features

We have all heard of the trauma responses Fight or Flight. But, what about Freeze and Fawn?

I grew up in a dysfunctional chaotic household. I never fought but I put the other responses into use.

I would freeze, get quiet, stay out of the way and try to be invisible to avoid any emotional or psychological abuse. It did work, in a way, but I was also overlooked.

I would fawn, people please to the point that I don’t know what I want. I sought external validation.I still don’t feel that I am good enough,

I would take flight and stay away from home as often as I could. I escaped into drugs and alcohol. If I could not physically get away, I would dissociate (space out).

Now, I am safe but old coping skills are hard to change. I have to make an effort to stay present, to think about my wants, to set boundaries.

 

 

What is one thing you have always wanted to do?

Image palm trees and water

I saw my therapist today telehealth. One thing he asked me was what do I do for fun or to relax. My knee jerk reaction was that I don’t know how, but I corrected myself. I am a couch potato but I enjoy computer games. I am happy on my couch with my dog typing right now. He asked what is one thing I have always wanted to do, for example, travel, and would I be disappointed if I never do it. I rarely travel, and would like to, but I don’t have a dream destination that I would be upset about not going. I can vacation in my backyard. We go on short overnight trips about an hour away that I enjoy.

It did get me thinking, though, I want to visit my sister in Boston when the weather is nicer. She suggested summer or fall, I have been there once when she first moved but it was a different house. She has a lake she likes to go to that I want to see. I can start planning that trip. My nephew is getting married out of the country but I don’t think I will go. I would like to but it won’t upset me not to be there. Just the coat is too much.

I have new health insurance and took a survey and the result said I am depressed but I feel fine. I am going to ignore that result.

I joined this zoom journaling group through the Mighty. I know everyone has a health condition, not sure if it is all mental health. They list prompts, give 10 minutes to write, share and then repeat. It goes for 3 hours but I leave early because I have another zoom, DBSA later. I feel like my writing is rainbows and puppy dogs and other people go deep. They are nice to me, I can’t go this week but I think I will continue. I know I have other emotions they just aren’t being prompted.

i zoomed with endocrinologist after therapist.My labs were good. I told her I stopped keto in dec and don’t want to go back to where I started but I don’t like logging food and counting carbs. She said I can visually see if my meals are less than 1/4 starchy carbs. I fill myself up with veggies. Beans are my main starchy food. I can do that.

I got a call from an old co worker. we worked at an activity center for adults with mental health issues. we have both moved on. he is now working at a new peer advocacy non profit, I don’t know if it is the grass looking greener. I am content where I am but get antsy when I am not busy I have a lot of down time that should change once I can get trained on some more tasks.

Sensory Coping Skills

Image: essential oil inhaler, sock, modeling clay, lemon heads and phone with image of bedroom with dog

My health insurance changed, so I have a new therapist. I have seen him twice, so far. I am doing well, so we may move to monthly appointments.

He went over some sensory and other coping skills and assigned me to get items. I have a post “Coping With Schizoaffective Disorder” https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ These are additional tools

The first is a calming essential oil, like lavender. I don’t like that so I got chamomile and an inhaler. I was skeptical but I enjoy the scent.

The next was a photo of a safe scene.it could be a place in nature, whatever you feel is safe. I took a picture of my bedroom with my dog. That is my safe place.

Music. Something relaxing like rainfall or ocean waves. I found some nature sounds on YouTube.

Fabric, an item that is soft to hold. I bought a fuzzy sock at the dollar store.

Lemon drops or sour candy

Some other things he recommended:

Box breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, exhale fir 4 seconds).

Exercise

Watch a funny show

Take a shower

Throwing something safe, like modeling clay

I told him I did not think I would do the throwing, but he encouraged me to try them all.  I bought clay but have not tried throwing it yet.

 

When I told him I have trouble getting in the shower. I don’t like to get cold. He asked if anything had happened in a bathroom or shower. I did not go into details but told him yes, when I was 8 years old. He told me to have all the coping tools and journal from the perspective of an 8 year old. I don’t know how to do that, so I journaled what I remember. I think the tools helped me stay calm. I don’t believe that has to do with me having trouble with showers, though.

Insurance Woes

Image: Skeleton with phone, on hold

My health insurance changed at the beginning of this year. I have been dealing with the insurance company. Monday it was impossible to get through. Tuesday I was able to chat and call and get most questions answered, I thought. My primary care physician is the same and she can refer me to any specialists. I see an endocrinologist, a sleep disorder pulmonologist, and a specialist dentist who monitors an oral appliance I wear for sleep apnea. But, I need a new psychiatrist and therapist.

I filled out a form for continuation of care with my current psychiatrist hoping I could at least get my meds refilled before I switch. Up until Monday, I thought he was covered, but he isn’t in my IPA, whatever that is, I thought it was a beer. I found a psychologist and had an appointment on Wednesday. He suggested calling my insurance to ask about a psychiatrist and to double check, he, the psychologist, is covered.

The problem is, this insurance covers medical and behavioral health, but they are different departments and don’t seem to communicate. The first person I called said anyone I see has to be in the medical group, which limits me to 4 psychiatrists to choose from and does not include the psychologist. Then, I contacted behavioral health who said the psychologist is covered, it says in network. I was getting conflicting info so I texted and it took all day but I got confirmation that behavioral health is not required to be in the medical group and does not need referrals but medical care does. I screen shot the text in case there are problems.

So, I looked at the list of psychiatrists and called one who seems to have a lot of experience. I found out she is the medical director and I will be treated by a psychiatric nurse practitioner. I am a little uneasy since I have a complex disorder ( schizoaffective disorder). I am stable now and just need medication management. I made an appointment but checked out some of the other psychiatrists. I found another that sounds good that I will call Monday. I am not sure if it will be the same.

Also, I have been taking a medication called modafinil for excessive daytime sleepiness due to sleep apnea even with the appliance. The insurance rejected the order. my dr is trying to get it for me. I am completely out and so so sleepy.

The therapy appointment went well. I told him I feel shame about past mistakes and have trouble forgiving myself. He asked if I would forgive someone else and I said yes. Why the different standard? I first said “I don’t know “ which I learned he does not accept as an answer, so I reflected on it and decided I should be able to forgive myself, but I still don’t know how. Baby steps?

Then I told him I get uneasy sometimes at work when there is a lot of noise and commotion even though I am not directly effected. Or if my husband raises his voice at home. He told me to journal when I feel uneasy. I have not had to deal with loud noises lately, but dealing with all of this insurance stuff gets me worked up. I want to drink to calm down, but I also want to stay sober. So far, sobriety is winning. I have a blood test in February and I am hoping for good results. We agreed to monthly appointments since I am stable.

Did I mention I got my hearing aids.? They work well. A little bit of trouble getting tangled in my mask. They have blue tooth capability and I have them connected to my phone. I am slowly learning how to disconnect if I want to use my phone or I hear nothing. And, I get notifications through the hearing aids. I go back to the audiologist for follow up soon. Sometimes it seems like only one is working and I don’t know if I am doing something.

Happy Holidays and Update

Image dog with Santa hat and decorations

Happy Holidays

Hanukkah flew by here with little fanfare. We celebrated the last night at my mother-in-law’s house. Food was great. We lit candles and exchanged gifts. I have been trying to lose weight, stalled at the moment. I received clothes in a smaller size than usual and they fit 🙂 .

We have our little artificial tree up for Christmas. My daughter decorated last night

Image small Christmas tree, stockings and dog

The hearing aids are now ordered. The audiologist said there is a big difference between basic and premium so I am purchasing the premium. They are supposed to be better at cutting down on background noise. They should come in soon and then I will get fitted. I am excited to. Be able to hear better.

Today is my husband’s birthday. He is working tonight. We may celebrate Friday. We don’t usually do big celebrations but we may go out to dinner.

The stock was bought back before they received my paperwork. I will still get the replacement certificate but will need to go through a broker to sell. I have no clue how that works or where to go, I want something inexpensive since it is just one transaction. I contacted the company but they are not purchasing more.

My Week

Image: Yorkie with words you just won a free pet portrait from I’ll shoot your pets a $250 value!

I was at a Halloween event at Hala’s Paws pet store in Mission Viejo, CA. I entered raffles and won 2 prizes. A Target gift card and a photo shoot of my dog by I’ll Shoot Your Pets located in Temecula, CA. They came over to my house to take pictures bringing a toy and treats to get his attention. Raider was pretty cooperative, but grew restless by the end. He was laying on the couch so the photographer took pictures of him there. The pictures turned out great. I had the choice of a large canvas photo, 3 8×10 prints or a ceramic mug. I have a large picture my niece made with pastel on wood, so I opted for the 8x10s. Here is the link to the photos.

https://galleries.page.link/Q9XLV

I own a small amount of shares from a company I used to work at in the 1990s. I received a package in the mail of documents that they want to buy the shares back. I want to sell. The only thing is I misplaced the certificate and it is over $100 to replace it. Then I can sell and make a small profit. My friend says it does not sound legitimate. The company is definitely buying the stocks back. He just thinks I should be able to do it all electronically. I have never sold stock or tried to replace a certificate. I have the holdings statement. I am going to look through our files this weekend and try to find the certificate.

The hearing aids are in limbo, my primary dr got them authorized but it is not with the right company, so they are working to get that straightened out. I will have them by the end of the year. I just don’t know when. They can’t order without the insurance authorization so for now I am just waiting.

I am going on a walk for NAMI Orange County, CA tomorrow. I am bringing a friend and will see people I know there. I have a fundraiser on Facebook and the Nami walks website. I have met my goal and will add to my collection of T-shirts.

https://www.facebook.com/donate/326881332539007/?fundraiser_source=external_url

https://www.namiwalks.org/participant/359276

The position I applied to transfer to changed from full time to per diem weekends so I withdrew. I will keep my eyes open. Fortunately, I like what I am doing now. When I told my friend I was anxious just deciding if I should apply he said “ don’t suffer twice”. I wish I knew how to turn off precipitatory anxiety. Now, I can relax.

Have a nice weekend!

Will it be too stressful?

Image: STRESS spelled out in scrabble

I have been stable for 15 years, but I have really decreased stress in my life. I find that when stress increases my symptoms can increase. I did not work for a few years after diagnosis. Then, I volunteered part time for years. I have been working part time for 6 years and I am doing well.

I found out about an open position at my work. It is higher pay, but more responsibility and full time. I put in a request to transfer and am waiting for an interview. I have no offer yet, but I am starting to worry if I am doing the right thing. (My opinion does not represent my employer). I want to ask my psychiatrist his opinion on taking on more, but he is out of town.. I emailed therapist but I don’t know if she will get back to me.

I have a delay with the hearing aids. The audiologist contacted my insurance and they said I have no coverage. That did not sound right, so I called. I have a $1000 allowance but it needs authorization from my medical group. I asked my primary care and she said she is not the one to ask, I had been referred to an ENT when they sent me to the audiologist so I don’t know if the ENT is supposed to get authorization. I am hoping I get them before the end of the year.

I am still doing TikTok videos on coping with schizoaffective disorder. Username Schizoaffective Dog Mom. I used to do live Periscopes. Few people came, but it was fun. TikTok has a live feature, but you need to have 1000 followers (I have 50). I guess it does not make sense to go live with no audience, but I am a little bummed I can’t use that feature. I have enjoyed viewing live videos.

Can you hear me now?

Image: Scrabble Spelled out Hearing

I have been having trouble hearing soft sounds for years.  I get a lot of wax buildup so I have to get my ears cleaned periodically.  I finally told my Dr I am still having hearing problems after my ears are cleaned out.

She referred me to an ENT.  I went today. The first thing I did was see the audiologist.  He did all kinds of tests and concluded I have hearing loss and need hearing aids

The ENT agreed.  I made an appointment to have a consultation on hearing aids next week. They may be covered by my insurance.

I am congested from allergies.  I take Claritin D and Flonase. He said I should not still be congested and prescribed  another spray.

I am glad I will be able to hear conversations now. I don’t know much about hearing aids and if they are a hassle or just like glasses.

TikTok @Schizoaffectivedogmom

I made my first TikTok video https://vm.tiktok.com/ZM8DvPD97/ my username is @schizoaffectivedogmom I wrote a blog post early on about coping skills called Coping with Schizoaffective Disorder https://lorib434.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/coping-with-schizoaffective-disorder/ so I am starting with a series on coping skills. The first one is my dog because he is the best. He is cute and funny and likes walks and being pet.

Image: dog on bed

I will keep blogging. The reason I was drawn to TikTok is that I went to an online NAMI CA conference and someone recommended a few users on TikTok. I liked what I saw and would like to add to that. I am older and not very technologically adept so we shall see how long I last. I did make some periscope videos when those were a thing, but few people came.

I am doing well. I just took my dog, Raider, to a Halloween event at a pet store. They had treats for dogs and people, lots of dogs dressed up, raffles, an artist, a dog rescue with the cutest puppies. Raider gets nervous but he seemed to have a good time meeting the other dogs. I just put a bandana on him. I entered the raffles. One prize is a portrait of your dog which would be awesome. We have one that my niece made that I love.

My health insurance, including behavioral health, changes Jan 1. My psychiatrist takes the new insurance. My therapist doesn’t but can apply for continuation of care and if it is approved the new insurance will cover her. Otherwise, I found someone highly recommended who takes the new insurance but retires in 2023. I was really anxious at first but now I am calm since it should work out.

ETA: hey I won the pet portrait from I’llShoot Your Pets (gotta love the name). So excited! and a Target gift card.

In Sickness and In Health

Image dog on bed

I have had sinus congestion and headaches off and on for a couple of weeks.  It is finally starting to clear up.  I swear I have a barometer in my head and get headaches when it is about to rain.  We had a storm with thunder and lightening and then my head started to clear.

 

My husband and I went to San Diego for a couple of days to celebrate 25 years of marriage.  Mental health issues can be hard on relationships and I am glad we have been able to get through all of these years.  My daughter stayed home with the dog.  I don’t think she missed us but the dog did. We mostly relaxed and ate.  Everything was walking distance from where we stayed.

 

The first night we went to a restaurant, Rockin’ Baja Lobster.  We were there at happy hour.  I went way off my keto diet  and even had a few drinks.  The next day we had lunch at a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao.  It was fancy but we just had the salad bar. It was pretty filling.  That night we went to a dueling piano bar, The Shout House.  That was a lot of fun.  They called people up on stage which would have embarrassed me.

 

Now we are home and getting back into our routine.  My mother in law is taking us out tonight and then I go back on keto.  I plan on going alcohol free until April.  I belong to some Facebook groups for moderate alcohol drinking.  I asked about any live groups and was told about one over zoom.  I went, but when I told them I drink twice a year the host was surprised and I felt like I did not belong.  My issue was, I am not sure if I want to expand on that, but I think I figured out what I want to do on my own.  I am keeping alcohol out of the house, but if we go to an event where I am not driving I am giving myself the option to drink.  With Covid there have not been many social occasions.

 

I have health insurance through my husband’s work.  They decided to change insurance companies coming in January.  Our PCPs are in network but behavioral health is different.  As far as psychiatrists, I have been on the same regimen for years so I mainly just need someone to refill my prescriptions.  But, I have so much trouble finding a therapist I click with.  I like the one I have now, but she does not take the new insurance.  I have been searching but I don’t know how to look.  I found one therapist who is great, but is retiring in 2023.  I am not sure if I want to start all over then.