Categories
bipolar Dual diagnosis Forgiveness hams harm reduction Inner demons mental health mental illness moderation NAMI pandemic psychosis Recovery relapse schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety suicide

What I Have Been Up To Lately

I had therapy last week. I started seeing this therapist after the pandemic, so all my sessions have been virtual. I forget what she asked but I mentioned I remember mistakes from the past, 20, 30 years ago or more and they torment me. She wanted me to share but I am not comfortable with that. I feel such shame and they were mistakes that I feel are unforgivable. If I did not feel shame there would be something wrong. But, I don’t want to delve into them.

My father did not believe in mental health treatment even though schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and bipolar run in our family. When I started therapy he discouraged it saying talking about the past just makes everyone sad. I did not understand what he meant until now.

My therapist wants me to work on forgiving myself.  I have to explain to her that some of these things are best kept hidden.

 

 

I have been able to stay alcohol free after my planned intoxication in April.  My plan is sobriety until our wedding anniversary in October.  It was pretty easy to get back to it.

 

 

I posted a link to an In Our Own Voice presentation I did for NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, in a different post. I have not been speaking much lately. I saw a different program by NAMI called VOICES. It is geared towards first responders. I signed up to be a speaker, but am having trouble figuring out where to start. My initial interaction with mental healthcare and police was not until I was 39, but since mental illness runs in my family that was not foreign.

My brother had a psychotic break in college at 20 (I was 15). He refused treatment and would get picked up by the police for 72 hour observational holds in the late 70s. His is a sad story. He was severely symptomatic for 6 years when he finally was placed on a different medication that he responded well to. But, he started becoming symptomatic again, paranoid, edgy, and probably needed his medication adjusted. He went to Yosemite while symptomatic and fell at a waterfall. I don’t know if it was accidental or not, but he died from the fall.

This is supposed to be a story of hope, but it is part of my story.  If I had not seen him so ill for so long I may not have accepted treatment, but I did not want to be stuck in psychosis like he was.  I think it is okay for first responders, but not sure if it will scare the general public who may be worrying about their own children.

My story is much different.  I did go in and out of psychosis for 3 years, but I have been stable since 2006.  I have not been hospitalized for 16 years.  I am married, have healthy grown children, work part time.  I still have some doubts about what was real from the past, but I can function.

 

Categories
keto mental health mental illness moderation schizoaffective schizophrenia sobriety Therapy Weight loss

Medical ketosis for psychiatric illness

Image of highlighted brain

I have been on a ketogenic diet to treat type 2 diabetes, through a company called Virta for about 3 months. I have lost about 1 lb/week, my fasting glucose has dropped 20 pts, and I feel good.

My friend was pushing me to try the diet and now he has been pressuring me to find out information on medical ketosis for psychiatry. He says it has greatly helped his depression. My provider from Virta agreed to talk with my psychiatrist about how a keto diet can affect mental health. But, I started wondering what am I doing. I have schizoaffective disorder controlled with medication and also take medication and use coping skills for anxiety. I don’t know that I want to change anything.

My therapist coached me on how to tell my friend thanks, but I feel pressured. I am not great at setting boundaries. I took her advice and he was cool. He said it is not his business what I decide to do and he is just making suggestions.

Then, I read a post on Reddit where someone is working with a dietician from the Charlie Foundation on a keto diet for schizophrenia. They work on keto for epilepsy in children and have expanded. I emailed and they gave me info on a dietician and I made an appointment for a zoom call on Wed.

The diet I am on now is 30 g total carbs, 13 oz protein containing food and fat to satiate. I am sure the dietician will have something more precise with macro g or percentages. Right now I weigh some but estimate amounts, where I will be measuring more.

My therapist gives me homework. The last thing she gave me was to give examples on where I could be more assertive, like with my friend. And to think of things I am grateful for and proud of. I am grateful for many things. The people in my life, especially my husband and even my pushy friend. My car, dog, food, home… i could go on, but proud of had me stumped.

I work and take care of my family but there is nothing I can identify as I am really proud about. I thought some more. I am proud I have been alcohol free for 6 months and have a plan for moderation. I am proud I have been able to stick with keto 3 months and with the results.

Categories
12 step AA hams harm reduction moderation peer support sobriety Uncategorized

Slippery Slope

Photo of hamster

I have stopped going to AA meetings.  I felt pressured to attend meetings and pray daily.  I am not religious and I did not find that part helpful.  There are things I gained.  I don’t think I would have stayed sober this long without starting with AA.  The accountability was helpful.

I belong to a couple of Facebook pages. Secular AA, Moderation Management and HAMs. (Harm Reduction, Abstinence and Moderation). We are called HAMsters. I am leaning towards trying to moderate drinking to about two times a year. We are going out of town over my birthday. Someone gave us a bottle of champagne and I plan to have some. Then I plan to go alcohol free until our wedding anniversary in October.

My therapist warned me it is a “slippery slope” and how do I not know I won’t go back to drinking more often. And, that I plan to drink because we have champagne makes no sense to her.  I feel like if I have a plan, I can stick with it.  And, that AA is not the program for me because I want to be able to drink occasionally, like twice a year.  I won’t be alone.  I won’t be driving.

Am I just asking for trouble?

Categories
12 step AA depression mental health mental illness psychosis relationships schizophrenia Therapy

Discombobulated Thoughts

I had therapy, virtual, on Wednesday.  I went over what was going on in the present.  Then my therapist started asking questions about when I was school age.  Jr high and high school were not the best years of my life.  I had a friend drop me in 8th grade to hang out with more popular friends.  I had a boyfriend in high school who was very critical and was sometimes mean.

Creative Commons girlshealth.gov

My home life was horrific. My father had an undiagnosed, but quite obvious in hindsight, mental illness and my brother had a severe psychotic disorder. He was nice, just a bit scary to me. Everything was unpredictable. My dad would be fine one day and raging the next. I could not deal with being there so I spent most of my time out, with friends, drinking alcohol or smoking weed. I was very sad, and quiet.

After answering her questions she asked for my thoughts and I said they are discombobulated.  I don’t know what to think.  So, she told me to write down my discombobulated thoughts when they come to me.  She used my own words but I don’t  what she wants.  I am going to email mon.

She gave me other homework. To write what you can gain from AA, without spirituality. That is easier for me. I belong to a secular AA Facebook group. I tried one meeting but I felt out of place and have not looked at others. I did think the accountability and recognition for time sober helped me. I have not gone to meetings lately but I am staying sober,

Categories
Uncategorized

Therapy, one part of my recovery puzzle

I know not everyone can get or even wants therapy, but for me it is an important piece for my recovery.

My therapist retired last Dec. I had plenty of notice and found someone new. She is very qualified, but I could not connect. I would run out of things to say and leave early. Then COVID came. We did telephone and I tried texting, but nothing helped. I am convinced she is a good therapist, just not right for me.

Psychology Today has a section on the website called therapist finder. You can search by insurance, gender, location, specialty etc. I scoured it and found someone who’s website intrigued me. So, I contacted her. We spoke on the phone and I had my first telehealth visit Friday. It was not actually over ZOOM but similar

We went over my history. I took the whole time. She says she works in the present but we can address how the past affects the present. She is really upbeat, which reminds me of my sister. It is a good thing. I made another appointment.

I used to feel, maybe I still do, that I am broken and I need someone to fix me. Maybe, if I could change that view of being broken I would feel more empowered?

Categories
bipolar Dysfunctional mental illness parenting Recovery schizoaffective Therapy trauma

Dysfunction Junction

My father had an undiagnosed mental illness, probably bipolar, but I did not know that at the time. He was just a moody, raging, jerk. People knew but no one wants to interfere. I remember we had an uncle who was physically abusive to his kids, maybe his wife, I don’t know. Everyone knew about it but nothing was done. We are all grown with families of our own now and the perps have died.

My mother is passive and anxious. She did not want to disturb anything. She would tell us our father was just joking and he is wonderful when he would say or do hurtful things.

My dad has passed and can’t hurt me anymore. My mom and I have a strained relationship. I don’t want to put any hope into it growing into more. But, we can be amicable and she does not upset me so much.

And, I had an older brother who had a psychotic disorder, maybe schizoaffective like me, but my dad did not believe in psychiatry so the only help he got was when he got picked up by the police for observation. He would stop any meds as soon as he got home. Nothing changed. He died young at 26. I don’t know if it was an accident or suicide. He fell at a waterfall. But, I felt I had lost my brother years before, when he first got sick.

Everyone else in my family is over it all. I don’t know if I should let it go or if I could heal.

I was watching a YouTube on dysfunctional “tricky” families and childhood ptsd. https://youtu.be/EBpF8sWycQQ

I could answer yes to almost everything and a few maybe’s. He suggests working with a therapist.

I have a new therapist. I don’t know what to work on. Day to day, things are okay. I kind of went through my family history with her last time.

Or should I be done with therapy? I am pretty stable and see a psychiatrist. Things in my day to day life are fine. My past is a mess, but maybe I should just leave it there. My father discouraged me from going to therapy. “You talk about the past and it just makes people sad.” I thought he was being ignorant. Of course, it is more than that. But, did he have a point?

I plan to ask my therapist next time I see her if she thinks I even need it.

Categories
Inner demons mental illness Responsibility schizoaffective schizophrenia Therapy Uncategorized

Inner Demons

I have shame about past behavior. I am not ready to disclose to anyone. I have a therapist but am not able to tell. I won’t repeat or get in that situation again.

I don’t know if any or all is related to mental illness. Probably some

I lied, sometimes for no reason. I did not ask for help when I was in over my head, for fear. I am not sure why I was afraid.

I regret things that happened 20 years or more ago. But I re-live it like it is today.

Categories
Therapy

I don’t know how to do therapy

I am seeing a new therapist. I picked her because she has experience treating patients who have experienced trauma. At my first appointment, I told her at the very end of the session that I want to delve into the past because it affects me still. It took me the whole time to get up the nerve to say that.

So, I go in today and talk about my husband, kids, dog, work, anxiety level. Everything is okay. I ran out of things to talk about so I left early. The problem is, there is more, .i just don’t know how to spit it out. I guess I can tell her that next time. Maybe, it will take me a bit longer to get comfortable.

I am going to try to write down things when they come to me and bring that.

Categories
Therapy trauma

Trauma Llama ding-dong

I had an emotionally-psychologically abusive childhood. I am in a good place now, physically and mentally. My family, husband and children are wonderful. I feel safe when I am home.

I am seeing a new therapist. I have had one appointment. It went well. She has experience with trauma, that is why I sought her out. My childhood experiences negatively affect me today. I mentioned that I would like to work on that as one goal. I am nervous that it will be difficult but also looking forward to breaking free of some of these memories and thoughts that haunt me.

I just read @lavenderandlevity blog which is awesome and you should check it out. She mentioned the fear of going back to that hell. My main abuser has passed away and there is no way to crawl back if I needed. But, everyone seems to have forgot what it was like and have moved on. They praised him at his funeral. A man who thrived on breaking young wills. I did return to live there a few times during my adult life. It took it’s toll on me every time.

I do wonder, if it was possible, if I would choose to forget it all. I can’t. I have so many pent up emotions. I don’t know if they can hurt me anymore, but I don’t want to risk it.

Categories
anxiety Dysfunctional parenting Therapy Uncategorized

Uncomfortably Numb

I saw my therapist today.

My daughter moved into the dorms for her first year in college yesterday. We talked about that for a while. It is bittersweet. I am very happy for her, but it does feel different with an empty room. I got shaky when I was moving her in. I don’t think it was the lifting, but anxiety. There were so many people.

Once we got all of her stuff in her room, I said goodbye. My husband and son took her shopping for a few last things, and had lunch in the cafeteria. I would not have been able to eat.

I told therapist about the shaking. I was still doing it today. In the room my son was telling me to breathe in my nose and out my mouth to try to help. He is sweet.image I told her when I came home from the last visit I was unsure how I felt. We had talked about the past, growing up, and it was uncomfortable. She asked me what I needed and I said some acknowledgement that parts sucked. The unpredictability.

I tried to be invisible and would do what I was told at home and keep a low profile, and stay away from home when i could. I told her i got into trouble with drugs and my boyfriend, but my parents were too preoccupied to notice or care. She thought that would upset me, that i went unnoticed, but it was my plan.

At one point I told my therapist I was “pulling back”. I guess I was dissociating. I was there but numb to any emotions.

i mentioned how once my mom was talking about my niece, saying really nice things. She brought up my daughter, for some reason, saying she is not the same or something. I said, i know and was agreeing with her, and said that my daughter is really good, but she is different. Then my mother said, ” well, I thought you were good, too.” It really bothered me because I thought she was insinuating my daughter might be up to something she isn’t. My therapist said, ” I don’t know what to say to that. There are so many levels.” And it came out of the blue when my mom said it.

This is so hard. My father is gone. My mom has changed some, for the better.

My therapist said, parents do what they can for their children, unless they are sociopaths, and that mine did not know how to do things differently, is that fair? I squirmed with that. Not the sociopath part. I know they did things the way they thought was the best. I don’t understand how they could think some things were okay to do, let alone good. if I can get past this it might be a breakthrough.

My dad once discouraged me from therapy, because he said you talk about the past and it makes you sad. As far as i know he had never had any therapy and I shrugged it off, but here I am. Talking about the past and feeling sad.