Another Crisis Survived 

Another crisis survived. It’s a victory but a quiet one. No one cares. They’d have cared, presumably, if I hadn’t managed the crisis. Although when I say cared I mean be angry at me for being selfish etc. 

But I did manage yet another crisis. I’ve had a lot of these crises over the last few weeks. Each time I get through it, without professional help, without much of a fuss and, I suppose, that may invite judgement:- these can’t be real crises if I’m managing them on my own. Hmmmm. I disagree. When I can’t leave my house for fear of buying pills to overdose, can’t care for my children, just can’t manage much at all other than crying, or being vacant, or sleeping? When I have a constant narrative to harm myself or to be dead? When I find my hands moving to my own throat to choke myself? I think that counts but I guess it doesn’t because I am managing it.

I was very depressed yesterday. I went to DBT group and that was quite good actually. We started Interpersonal Effectiveness and I think I need this more than I had realised. I enjoyed the session because I felt like I was learning. I enjoy learning. If something interests me then I just want to soak it up. Pretty much as soon as I got home the emotions became intense. Although I was alone I felt harassed. I had so much to do, too much to do. Every time I tried to tick something off the list it created another job. I was totally overwhelmed.

By evening it was too much. The emotion was overwhelming. Be dead, be dead, be dead. Urges. So I started thinking about my crisis plan and recognised that it was pretty pointless. The crisis team can’t do anything so no point ringing them. My husband can’t help, he gets emotional and overreacts and makes it worse. I looked at the NHS Suicide section on their website. It suggested emailing the Samaritans. I could do that! So I did, I emailed jo@samaritans.org I knew that they couldn’t do anything but listen but, to be honest, that in itself was hugely helpful. It’s funny how many professionals I speak to but rarely feel listened to; they have their specific questions. Everything is lead by want they want from the appointment. 

After the Samaritans I chose self-soothing. I had a little Graze box treat and a hot chocolate, took my quetiapine, made a hot water bottle and retreated to bed. I put lavender on my pillow, cuddled up to my blanket and bunny. Then I took 3 cocodamol for good measure and downloaded an audiobook (The Humans by Matt Haig). With my headphones in I drifted into the safety of unconsciousness. It’s the next best thing. 

My night was full of vivid dreams of the past. Some of it was reliving abuse and some of it was comforting. The important thing was how I woke up and I woke up ok. Ok. Tired, mentally bruised and battered, but ok. Another crisis survived. It’s a quiet victory and no one will celebrate it, not even me. For me the feeling is relief. I know that this is temporary. I expect that I’ll hit crisis point again in the next few days so I’ll try and make plans now with the aim of avoiding crisis. I get scared. How many times will I successfully negotiate these urges? I’m so used to this; to having to survive. I do get resentful about it, about having to fight so hard for something that I’m not sure I want. Having to fight for something that other people want (my survival) on my own.

Still, survival brings options, death doesn’t. So quietly I’ll just go about it. Invisible. 

Diagnosis, or not

Today was the feedback from my son’s autism assessment. It’s been a two year process. The conclusion: no diagnosis of autism. We had already had a letter explaining how that decision had been reached but today we met the (very competent) clinical psychologist to discuss the findings. 

It’s a strange thing really. I didn’t care one way or the other – I just wanted to know. My gut had always told me that there was something different about my boy; about his need for routine, his obsessions, his sensory issues. I never really had anyone to mull this stuff over with. My husband seemed to just shrug it all off. Sometimes I’d mention something on the odd occasion I’d see another parent and they’d tell me that theirs was just the same…but, no, when they described their child it just didn’t sound quite the same.

Several lengthy questionnaires (and over a year) later we had our first appointment with the psychologist. We discussed the issues with our boy and had reams of examples to give. Honestly it was one of the most uplifting conversations I have ever had. As my husband and I openly described behaviours and an intensity that wears us down so completely the psychologist appeared to understand where no one else ever had. Our son is intelligent, polite, follows rules etc. No one could ever imagine how exhausting managing my boy’s ‘quirks’ could be. We felt like failures. Here were we with this fantastic son and yet, somehow, we were just collapsing with his intensity. So, you can appreciate, having someone recognise and validate what we were saying was a huge relief – maybe we’re not crap parents after all?

The next appointment was our son meeting with the psychologist and an assessor on his own. I fell asleep in the waiting room. He was brought back out to me after 40 mins. I assumed that given the speedy turnaround that they had quickly arrived at the conclusion that he was not autistic and we were, as we feared, just crap parents.

In the next meeting the psychologist fed back to us and I couldn’t believe what she said: our son scored as highly autistic on 2 out of 3 of the measures. I was shocked. They had observed so much in such a short space of time. Entirely selfishly I was so relieved, my god, it’s not just me and my mental illness, two actual trained professionals saw it too! I’ve always been so scared that all of this is just in my head that to have it confirmed, after 10 years, was just…I can’t even describe it.

However,

Ah yes, there was a but. He hadn’t scored as autistic at all on the 3rd measure. For autism diagnosis the person must score on all three measures – a triad of impairments. Also the report from his school completely contradicted what we had reported. Ok, so next steps were to send a trainee psychologist in to observe my son in school and then take the complete body of evidence to a cross functional panel to decide. Ok, cool with that.

Well, you know what they decided, no diagnosis. So we discussed it. Honestly I didn’t mind whether he was diagnosed as on the spectrum or not, I just wanted certainty. Being told he was a borderline case was my worst fear. He does show difficulties, strongly in fact, in 2/3 areas but, but, but this is not ASC. It was the rituals thing that he doesn’t do so I said that he does this yawn/lip smack thing and looked at my husband. No he hadn’t seen that. Ummm…ok…just me…

Somehow I then started getting emotional. I told them about my BPD and cPTSD diagnoses. This changed things. They knew already about my mental health problems but when I confirmed that I had those specific diagnoses, officially then questions were asked about how I was coping and was I being supported adequately by the adult mental health. I threw myself on the sword babbling away about my own concerns about projecting my own difficulties on to my son. I was awful, however I tried to reassure the psychologist that I felt my parenting was ok. I looked to my husband for confirmation. None came. Talk about leaving me hanging. The psychologist reassured me that there had been no concerns about my fitness as a mother and that the adult mental health team had not been in touch with any concerns. That helped. Would have been nice to hear something reassuring from my husband.

Anyway, suddenly the mood lightened. We all agreed with bright smiles that everything was fine and my son was discharged from the child and adolescent mental health (CAMH) team.

And that was that.

Two years. Hundreds of questions. Half an answer. 

Doesn’t matter though does it? Let’s be honest, with a BPD mother me like he’s up against it. 

I want to get off my face. With what? Alcohol? Drugs? I don’t care! Although I think drugs would win as I’m really after being calm, sleepy, dopey and peaceful.

I can say I don’t do drugs with a snooty air of superiority but that’d be misleading. I don’t do illegal drugs. Mine come from the pharmacy, which is fine when they’re being used correctly. Actually I do take my prescription meds as I’m told as I know that if I dick about with them then it’ll make getting prescriptions harder in the future, especially with one significant overdose in the bag already.

Instead I play about with OTC stuff: promethazine and cocodamol. Occasionally I chuck in a lorazepam but that’s prescription and if I use it too much it’ll get taken away. One of the reasons for starting quetiapine was to stop this polypharmacy meddling I indulge in.

Thing is I’m tired. Tired of being ‘on’. The static in my head makes me grumpy and short with the people I love. My self-hatred means that their touch is like being prodded with a red hot poker. They shouldn’t be touching me – I am rotten. I swallow down my discomfort and add it to the already seething volcano. I hate myself further for being like this. F-u-u-u-u-u-u-ck! Listening to the children requires the kind of concentration that I imagine a code breaker has to employ. I listen-take in the info-stifle my reaction-process the info-decide on an appropriate response-give said appropriate response. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. All the stifling and pushing emotion down makes the poison inside bubble more furiously and panic begins. A quiet panic that no one sees. I need to escape. I can’t. This is where DBT skills are pretty lacking to be honest. The urge is to be dead. A completely nonsensical reaction but there it is. Can’t be dead. Can’t escape. Can’t get drunk. Can’t go out (it’s dark, I’d be scared and my husband would stress). So here I am: DRUGS. 

I have all manner of distraction techniques but I’m past that point. This happens all the time. Why can’t they help me with this because I don’t know what to do?! 

The overdose urge is strong but I can’t. It caused such a breakdown in trust in my marriage last time that I just feel trapped. Like I want to scream help me help me help me but I can’t because all of the ways I scream help me are destructive and just asking in a normal person manner doesn’t yield results either.

And then…is it passing? Am I settling? Even if I am the enormity of recovery feels too much, impossible. I can’t. I’ll go to sleep, have nightmares like I do every fucking night, and then I’ll wake up and wait to see what-the-hell mood I’m in when I wake up. Then I’ll begin planning how to manage that emotion, to get through the day, to function, to be as good a mother as I can be. Enormous.

Shhhhhh the static. Quiet the volcano. Sedate the monster.

End 

I know that everything I say here will stupid, it will be illness, but I’ve got to say it all and I’m not going to try to make sense.

I cried a bit in DBT group today. Not properly, just that choked up, can’t talk or I’ll sob kind of way. I feel like crying now but I can’t because my son is here. He was sent home from school sick. In fact I had to leave group to collect him which makes perfect sense because in group I was saying/choking about the fact I can’t stop self harming because I’m scared something awful will happen, particularly to my children.I told them all in group that I would chip away at this belief so it is fucking obvious that my boy then got sick. The message is there. It’s so clear. In group I gave the example that I had written details of my last self-harm and send it to Monica because we never get through a chain analysis because I can never remember what happened. Anyway, my appointment with Monica was cancelled this week. She was ill. Nothing suspect there except I know. Of course it was cancelled! Each time I try and push back against ‘this’ it rebounds back at me, knocking me down. I cried that I could have told them that my appointment would be cancelled: I do something ‘positive’the universe pushes back. It’s like chess. 

I had been crying quite a lot this morning so had hoped i wouldn’t cry in group. I was crying this morning because I feel like the end is coming. As I up my efforts to ‘get better’ my opponent ups their efforts too. Then comes the strange contradiction: the suicidal who is scared to die. I just don’t want to leave the kids, i really don’t. I just want them to be safe and ok. 

And I feel totally alone. The universe is organising things so I become more isolated…pushing me further. So my care coordinator Nora left. Then Monica cancelled my appointment. Now I’ve had to leave DBT today. My new care coordinator keeps fucking up appointments so I haven’t even met her….obviously. She rang the other day to reschedule and didn’t bother asking how I was, or asking how the quetiapine is going or you know basically anything. I’m so confused. I don’t know how the quetiapine is going and I don’t have anyone to talk to about it. I  just don’t know anything.

Last nights dreams upset me so much. I dreamt my mum loved me. I dreamt that when I was a baby she had done so much for me, made huge efforts out of love – like flying to London to buy a special baby sling that you couldn’t get where we lived (and it being 1980!) and she did that because she wanted to be close to me. I felt such a fool in the dream. Yes, she had done all these terrible things to me but, actually, she had loved me, she had tried. Then I woke up and remembered that she hadn’t. I cried a lot then. 

I also dreamt of the rape. I kept trying to see his face. I wanted to stare him in the face. I wanted to know his face so I could recognise it if I ever saw it again but he was the shadow man again. This afternoon as I sat on the sofa I saw him out of the corner of my eye, stood in the kitchen door. Gone in a flash. Thankfully I didn’t startle because my son was there. The whole thing just makes me so so sad. Why is he back? I don’t understand. I tried to deal with it before, I told and nobody cared so what is the point?

I just don’t know what to do so I keep trying to do the things that are supposed to be good, to be the right things for recovery but the more I do the worse things happen. I’ve thought a running away this afternoon at least then maybe everyone would be ok.

I’ve got to go. The cat is being a twat and I now have to pick up my daughter. Somehow I need to rein all of this in and be the mum they deserve. Fuck. I can do it for a few hours and then, when they’re in bed, I can break.

It’s Time to Talk, Seriously.

On February the 2nd it is Time to Talk day 2017. I think this is a great initiative. I know it’s been running for a few years now and I really hope that each year more and more people speak up about their mental health because we all have mental health. Just like our physical health, our mental health can be good, or not so good and it will vary. Just like our physical health, we might suddenly find ourselves in a situation with our mental health that was previously unthinkable. Very suddenly everything can change but the world still turns, the people around you still go on, and you can be left wondering.. how could this have happened to me? I’m not like that… Just like with our physical health there are risk factors in mental health – you probably know that being overweight increases your risk of diabetes, but, have any of us really stopped to consider just how that person with mental illness arrived there? I wonder what they were struggling with for the illness to begin. I suppose it’s easier for us to think of those suffering from mental illness as weak, sensitive flowers because it means that we can reassure ourselves that it will never be us. Until it is. And then…what?

Over the last few years I’ve noticed more people speaking openly about depression and anxiety and it’s brilliant. Even men, a group that speaking about their mental health is almost forbidden (sensitive flowers right?). This is awesome…but… (I’m sorry there’s a but) I want us to talk more. I want us to start being able to share some of of the more (perceived) frightening aspects of mental illness. I think they’re frightening because they are so mysterious, shrouded in hearsay, misinformation and sensationalism. Let’s name some of these bogeymen: suicide; self-harm; hallucinations; hearing voices; psychosis; dissociation; flashbacks; delusions.

I don’t work anymore. That came as a huge surprise to me. I never imagined that would be me. I used to be a research scientist for a major pharmaceutical company – intercontinental conference calling, symposiums, shares and benefits. Then I retrained as a science teacher and I was successfully climbing the career ladder with the aim of being a head of chemistry and a lead teacher. See? Normal. Doing life and doing pretty well at it but the risk factors were there. Without realising what I was doing I actually fought mental illness all my life and then, and I don’t know how it happened really, everything changed. I tried to kill myself. Now I’m at home I get to catch up on a lot of TV (no, not lucky me). There’s a lot of crime stuff on during the day. Know who the baddies are? Yeah, they usually have mental illness and are suffering with the bogeymen. But, you see, this is my point – I’ve experienced a few of those bogeymen symptoms and I’m as dangerous as a wet tea bag (i.e. not very). People would know that if I could talk to them about it.

Very few people in my life know that I tried to kill myself. Even fewer know about the self-harm. My husband and I haven’t even spoken about it. I keep meaning to. He must see the cuts but then I hide them so well I wonder if he does know. How do I tell someone who loves me that  I deliberately take a knife to myself? I don’t know but it’s definitely time to talk, seriously, because self-harm is a very real and troubling part of my mental illness. This leads me to another massive misconception about mental illness – that it is attention seeking. Are you kidding me?! Attention seeking?! Ha! Right. No, that’s the kind of attention I can do without ta. People being afraid of me, thinking I’m crazy (which I am but it’s ok)?! No, no,no! Attention seeking. Wow. I’m not saying people don’t ever look for some sort of concern or help and that can be in really messed up ways but that’s mental illness for you – it can make rational thought kind of difficult sometimes!

My diagnoses are borderline personality disorder (BPD) and complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD). I’d never even heard of BPD so I googled it. It’s a heartbreaking and damning read: attention seeking, manipulative, liars. Difficult to love? Aggressive or violent? Hand on heart I will tell you that those particular traits do not apply to me (well, maybe I’m hard to love I dunno) but imagine what people will think of me when I tell them that I have BPD (that they’ve probably never heard of) and if they go so far as to google it? Yeah. So it’d be really great to be able to talk about it, to let them know the truth; what I struggle with and how I manage it and why I’m still me. Then there’s the cPTSD bit. This tells people that I have something awful in my past. They don’t want to ask for fear of upsetting me and I don’t tell them because I know it will upset them (been there, done that, sat through the awkwardness).

No one knows what to say but, you know what, that’s OK. This stuff is complicated. It’d be a lot easier if we could talk about it so that’s what I’m saying: it’s time to talk about the scary (not really!) stuff too. Oh, and I want to make clear that I am absolutely not minimising depression and anxiety. I find the depression the worst part of my illness. It’s brutal and can be life-threatening, as anxiety can be too. These conditions have a continuum and if your depression/anxiety is classed as mild then it is still an illness and you have every right to receive the correct treatment. You deserve empathy and understanding. So, no matter how your mental health is faring currently do make time to talk. Please.

From a  crazy, wet teabag x

BPD & cPTSD: a Monster and a Ghost part 2

The Ghost

The BPD monster peeped out for DBT therapist, Monica, in my last appointment (that’s Part 1). Later in the same appointment the PTSD ghost wanted acknowledgement too.
I don’t know how we got on to the subject but I think it came from me expressing my frustration at not being able to enjoy my life. I have a fantastic life. I couldn’t ask for more and yet there I was, in therapy. The only thing between me and enjoying my life is me. It’s bloody maddening but then the more I beat myself up the worse I make it. From there, I think, M got me to describe the person I am now. I used words like adventurous, that I saw a world full of potential. Monica was surprised. So I explained that I am haunted, continually pulled back to 20+ years ago and that stops me being the person I think that I am. Naturally she asked me to describe that person. Well…scared, invisible, wants to die but can’t because she has to take care of her brothers, powerless, has no voice, doesn’t trust because people say they will help and they never do. This is the person that Monica knows now. It’s not me. It was me; once upon a time. She wonders how the younger me became the adult me given they are so vastly different. I explained as best I could about going to university, meeting new people, going wild, achievements and finally a name change. 

Gradually that younger version of me was eradicated. To the point that she was barely a memory. She was gone but, unfortunately, not laid to rest. I am haunted by the ghost of myself.

Now that I can see she kind of gets it the words come spilling out of me. I sometimes see her at nighttime, I know that what happened to her is really sad but she needs to be gone now, I need to make her be gone but I can’t. It’s like she wants me to do something to giver her peace but I don’t know it is. I try and pay attention in dreams and hallucinations: what is it? I know it’s strange to experience ‘her’ as a separate entity but that’s how this thing is playing out. It’s me – I get that. Although if I stop to think about that it’s terrifying so, for now, I’m thinking of her as a ghost that needs to be laid to rest. Trouble is that I don’t know how. Monica said we would continue to explore this next time. 

That night at my Body Balance class (mix of tai chi, yoga and Pilates) when we were doing the meditation bit I had to keep my eyes open. Whenever I tried to close them my eyelids fluttered and in my minds eye I saw her. I imagined holding her hand and reassuring her – it’ll be ok, we’ll sort this. I’ve got to admit though I don’t know if that’s a good thing or further descending into madness! 

Maybe the monster and the ghost are the same thing? I don’t know but I do feel relieved that my therapist now seems to have a better grasp of what’s going on with me. Do you know what? I’ll happily leave it to her to figure it out. I’m exhausted enough just managing the two of them. 

Well, that’s why they call it complex PTSD! They got that right! 

BPD & cPTSD: a Monster and a Ghost part 1

The Monster

My DBT one-to-one with Monica was intense this week. Lots of stuff but I think, dare I say hope (?), that she is edging closer to glimpsing what I live with: the monster and the ghost.

Monica saw the monster.

She was pressing me about goals and the future. I felt the conversation was a game of cat and mouse. Do I give the ‘right’ answers for an easy life or be an honest, if devilish, little mouse? I went with honesty. The dialogue burned out and she sat back in her chair, looked thoughtful and fixed her eyes on me. “How angry are you right now, from 0 to 5?” I raised my eyes from the floor and paused to consider it. I tuned in to my body and I could feel the anger inside me. I really wanted to smash the room up. Hmmmm. Outwardly I was calm. I wasn’t flexing my fists, or clenching my jaws or any of that. It was like my outside and inside were completely detached. I finally answered “4? Actually no, maybe a 5. Yes, a 5. I’m actually really angry”. My tone was calm and conversational. She smiled a little victory smile (which I was cool with. )

She told me that she sensed it. I felt a whoosh of fear (the monster!). She told me that whenever she sensed this from me that she wanted to pull back from me and this was a therapy interfering behaviour. I felt tears of shame and horror. I asked her why she wanted to pull back from me and I reassured her that I would never harm her or anyone. She agreed. She knew that, but still…she tried to explain but couldn’t quite. Indeed there hadn’t been any outward signs but there was something…she couldn’t name or describe it. Ha! Yeah, welcome to my world love. I was sobbing now. The voice in my head my repeating oh no oh no oh no oh no oh no. The monster. It’s escaping. Oh no, the monster.

Somehow I told her about my mum – that she did the same thing. That this was my fear. That I tried to contain this monster but I’m so scared of it escaping. Unlike Monica I could explain how it made me felt: I didn’t know what I had done that was wrong but you’d better believe it was bad. Don’t poke the tiger.”Yes!” she said “That’s it!”. Well, of course I could explain it, I’d had a whole lifetime of it. Her excitement was equalled by my despair. I thought I could contain it. Fool. To find out that it did escape, despite my best efforts, was the worst news. My children – what about them? They must see the monster too. Internally I was panicking. What should I do? Killing myself (and therefore the monster) seemed the obvious answer but I knew that would cause the children emotional harm. So I asked Monica, in between sobs, what should I do? She told me that I was very different to my mum. The relationship I have with my children is good and secure. My son can ask about depression and talk to me about it without fear or judgement. My children do not live in fear. That helped. 

It still leaves me with a monster. The monster within. Now she’s seen it too so she can perhaps begin to understand. I hope so. I don’t know if the monster is a product of nurture, nature, or both. I don’t know if I can ever get rid of the monster and that is terrifying. I’m trying not to think about it. The positive thing is though that Monica saw the monster. She knows it is real. She knows how hard it is to articulate. She knows that she has only seen the smallest little bit of the monster and perhaps now she can begin to understand my exhaustion and distress. She doesn’t like the monster either. Really? She wants to try living with it, with borderline personality disorder.

Anyway, with the monster revealed the ghost then decided to appear too. That’s for the next post. 

Future Plans

They say that making plans for the future is encouraging and positive. I agree. Trouble is that my expectations of the near future are so far removed from reality. I’ve just spent hours researching possible holiday destinations for February half-term but I give up. The combination of husband’s leave, our budget and my anxiety makes it ridiculous. I thought we could do it but I can’t. It’s too much. I just can’t. 

I met my boss today for coffee. Should say ex-boss really as I told her I’m quitting the teaching profession. Another thing I can’t do. I mean I guess it’s a pretty good breakthrough in terms of therapy to now recognise and accept that working in a school is going to be extremely challenging to my mental health but it sort of leaves the future kind of fuzzy. When I first came round to the idea of leaving teaching it was freeing – what opportunities lay ahead?! How exciting! Thing is I can’t even consider a job at the moment. I’m too ill. I’ll be doing DBT for another 11 months then psychcotherapy. So whilst I’d love to look at jobs and possibilities there is absolutely bugger all point.

I’m in such a rush to get back to ‘life’.

It’s depressing really and that’s the last thing I need.

Really very mentally ill

I’m just awake after another bad night. Dreams of everyone hating me, people leaving me, bombs and bullets, cold, isolation, loneliness and hopelessness. Now I’m awake I feel ill. Really very mentally ill. 

I don’t want to be awake. I don’t want to get up. I feel I shouldn’t as I shouldn’t be part of this world. Acceptance? It is what it is. Maybe this is what I have to accept. Andy has brought me tea. I cried my heart to him. I told him I’m sorry and that I want so much better for him and the children but I’ll keep fighting. He told me he knew today would be like this because I had pushed myself yesterday (going out to a panto – big family outing). I was pleasantly taken aback by his insight. “You’re getting wise to this mental health stuff” I said. “There are patterns” he gently replied. 

My eyes burn from crying. I am exhausted. I feel physically sick. Last night I was planning when (not if) to overdose. I’m going to fight that absolutely 100%. Which means building a bed fort, drinking my tea and waiting for this all to pass.

Dissociation 

Ah dissociation! If you have a mental illness then I dare say you’re familiar with dissociation. If not then you will have dissociated because everyone does it…a bit. I have a mental illness, or two, or who knows how many – doesn’t matter – and I’m used to dissociation. I find it can be pretty helpful to function in that kind of autopilot whilst my mind goes and hides deep inside me somewhere. In saying that the dissociation I’ve experienced in the last couple of days has been, frankly, frightening. That’s not good.

Yesterday it was like being unreal. I’d look at my hands, specifically my scars, and wonder – who did that? It couldn’t have been me (it was). I’d look at the scars and try and connect with the me that did that but, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t. I wondered if this spaced-out-me was actually the real me because spaced-out-me couldn’t understand self-harming and that’s got to be good, right? But it wasn’t and I don’t know why. All day I constantly questioned what I had done: did I really do that? Am I awake or dreaming right now? My hands tingled. It was frightening because each moment felt sort of new and unexpected, like I had just arrived in it without knowing how. I went to bed, took some promethazine and fell asleep listening to plinky plonk music (you know the type).

According to my Fitbit my sleep was the usual night long restlessness. No change there. I’m lucky that I do actually sleep but said sleep is not restorative. I suppose it’s a bit like being sucked into a strange video game; my nights are filled with demon fighting activity. As morning came around I was stuck in a dream. I’d wake up but get sucked back into the dream. This happened countless times, at least 10 I’d guess. I didn’t know what was real: the dream or the awake. I couldn’t tell the difference. The dream was distressing but it sort of made sense. My dreamself was seeing, hearing and experiencing things that were not real (in the dream) so it was almost like 3 layers of consciousness (Inception anyone?!). In the dream I would take people to show them something but the thing wouldn’t exist, everything was in my head. At one point I fought a monster. It was small and I used such force on it that I pushed my thumbs into it and made it bleed. I had killed the monster but just for good measure I threw it over a balcony. In the dream people started shouting and I realised it hadn’t been a monster. I immediately feared that it had been a baby. I slowly peered over the balcony expecting to see a horror but it wasn’t a baby that I had harmed – it was a rag doll. In the dream I was relieved but heeded the message: I was a danger. I could lose touch with reality to such an extent I was dangerous. Another thing that stuck out to me was that in the dream I tried taking selfies on my phone. This was to help me gauge reality. However each selfie of me showed me as black (I’m white). My features were totally different. To be fair the black-selfie-me was much prettier, more girly, but it wasn’t the face I expected. I was so confused.

Eventually I managed to pull myself into reality and properly wake up. It took monumental effort. Tonight my husband described me as talking to myself and not making sense this morning (this was when I was flitting in and out of the dream). He left for work when I was still in bed. When I finally wandered dazed downstairs it looked as if he had slept on the sofa. My first thought had been – oh no, what did I do?! I was scared, scared that I had done something bad. Fortunately I had not but this is my fear: what if I do something awful in this dissociated state? 

I feel a sense of foreboding – like something bad is going to happen. I have spoken to Nora and she reassured me. She said it was highly unlikely that I would do something harmful and that this is all perfectly…normal…in complex PTSD. She told me that the presentation of my condition was changing and, again, that was normal. 

I’m much better now. I couldn’t have written this in that state I was in. My desire to understand has me trying to decode the messages from my subconscious and I have some bits and pieces that I can stick together. My sodding amygdala.