Stupid Girls

Thursday, December 16, 2004

post traumatic stress disorder

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My problem with therapy is that modern psychotherapy relies too heavily on psychotropic medication: better living thru modern chemistry.

And the drug therapies available are very primative, with many side effects and reactions.

My brain chemistry is different from normal people's. My hypothalmus is supposed to be smaller and less-well developed. I metabolize that brain chemical, starts with a "c," that creates feelings of well being, before it has a chance to activate in my brain. I produce FAR more adrenaline than normal. My dopamene receptors are over charged, as my brain secretes massive doses of opiates, trying to relieve the terror and rage.

So, there's a lot going on in my brain that so-called "normal" people don't deal with.

In addition, I have accute sensitivities to mood altering chemicals. Very little of any drug can have extreme consequences on my mood, ability to function, physical coordination, memory and tendancies toward psychotic outbursts.

I'm addicted to caffeine because I was force fed ritalin for many years as a child. I constantly crave "speed" type chemicals: sugar, caffeine, and even nicotine (which, first thing in the morning, acts as a stimulant).

I have issues with alcohol because I used it in an attempt to self medicate, reduce anxiety, and reduce adrenaline production. I was self medicating in order to function.

Now, I just can't function, under some circumstances which other people consider "normal." For me, they're stressful and toxic situations. I'm the "canary in the coal mine," with regards to how disfunctional and poisonous our modern culture has become. It all affects me more directly and profoundly than it affects others, apparantly.

And, psychotherapy as counselling is not sufficient for me. I'm "high functioning:" I'm more intelligent and better self-educated than most people. SImple "bumper sticker" fixes, such as 12 step programs, don't work for me. I see through the placebo effects and can't force myself to believe things I know aren't true.

And most counsellors rely on such tricks and gimmics.

I also can't be hypnotized, which frustrates therapists to no end. Modern gimmicry relies heavily on the power of suggestion, meditation-type exercises and even mimicing REM sleep eye patterns in sessions. None of these work on me.

The BEST thing I've learned for myself, over time, is to "act as if:" BEHAVE as though I'm not affected by trauma.

I try to operate in the world as normally as possible. I don't indulge depression, suicidal ideations, psychotic impulses, etc. I don't hit myself or others, lie around saying, "what's the use?" etc.

I have learned that I don't HAVE to feel like doing things, in order to do them. I have also learned that, even though I may be in an acutely painful, existential crisis in which I have NO rational motivation to continue, if I DO continue to take care of my business, the episode WILL pass and I'll eventually be glad I didn't submit to it.

Such has been the case during your absence. And I'm very glad I haven't indulged my "demons." I've accomplished a lot while you've been gone. I've made our home a more user-friendly, sheltering and nurturing environment. I did this in the midst of a spiritual nightmare, where it would have been very easy for me to either give up or, even worse, to destroy rather than create.

I feel very good about myself for this.

I will never be able to function at full capacity. I have finally come to terms with that now. I will always have serious limitations.

There's no point in berating and punishing myself for that, as I have in the past. I have survived literal hell. It took a toll on me. There are certain aspects to life which will never be comfortable for me, and I will probably never go through these gracefully.

But I can protect myself from some possible damage. And the foundation of that protection is that I acknowledge my limitations, not push myself into situations where I'm vulnerable and unprotected, and stop forcing and punishing myself for not being like other people.

I am a very high functioning person. I work at a capacity which those unaffected by PTSD don't even reach. I'm not lazy. I'm not crazy.

I'm a very good person, with a very bad trauma history.

I'm sorry my damage has spilled over onto you. And I will make every effort at healing myself, both for my own sake and for yours. You don't need any more crap in your life, either.

I love you very much and I'm very committed to this relationship. If I thought, really thought, that I was too damaged, too broken or too dangerous to build on this foundation we have, I'd leave you in a heart beat.

But I'm firmly convinced I have a huge capacity to love, nurture, shelter and enhance the lives of others.

IF I stay within the bounds of my own needs.

This seperation, the issues it raises, my incapacitated attempts at forcing things, etc. has really shown me where I need to work and how to get there.

I refuse to isolate myself from love. And I refuse to isolate myself from you. You're one of the kindest, smartest, silliest and most interesting people I've met in a VERY long time.

I'm highly motivated to make this work.

And I know I can.

That's Butch Lesson #1: taking responsibility for my own damage, taking care of it, and not dumping it on you.