Back in Therapy

This all started when I had to get a new doctor because mine was no longer doing teledoc or Telehealth or whatever it’s called. I finally found one, and he got me in to see a new therapist. I was dreading the first appointment – you know, going through everything that happened and why you’re there and whatnot. It’s exhausting. I came home ate dinner and fell asleep on the couch.

The thing is, despite it being exhausting, I felt like it actually went really good. As far as I can remember, the first appointment – you don’t actually get anything out of it, just giving the therapist all your background information. This first appointment, however, went quite the opposite. I feel like not only did we go through the background information (the difficult parts and the boring parts), but I really felt like I got something out of it, you know? She helped me some. She gave me a name of someone to look up who had interesting and helpful views for me in my situation.

I feel like we really clicked. Normally, or at least in my experience, the therapist doesn’t talk about themselves at all – which I completely understand. But she gave me some information about herself (only as in how it pertained to me in the context of what we were discussing). It made her seem like a real person and made me feel like how I “experience the world” (for lack of a better phrase) isn’t so alien at all. It’s one thing to know that everyone goes through something, and there’s someone who’s gone through the same thing I went through, but it’s something else to have that proverbial “someone” be a real person that you actually interact with. It was a really nice feeling. It helped me to think that I may not be as horrible a person as I think I am.

Stop Telling Me What I Want!

One day when you meet the right man, you will.

You say that now, but later on you’ll change your mind.

Your biological clock is ticking.

…all when someone hears that I don’t want to have children.

It’s not that I don’t like kids. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of most of them, but I love my nephews to death. But seeing my siblings raising them, seeing the issues that they have to deal with, it all just reassures me that I am not meant to have children.

I’m not patient enough. I’m not selfless enough. I’m just not enough to raise a child full time. I mean, I can babysit, but long-term, I think it would be a real struggle for me. Not to mention that I don’t particularly want to pass on my genes or my mental issues. Having PTSD, I just know that my paranoia would mess with a kid’s brain – being constantly on edge, hovering over them, watching their every move to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to them.

Also, things like tantrums and potty-training. Not my thing. Changing diapers for years? No, thank you. My mom did the math; between the three of us kids, she was changing diapers for seven years. SEVEN YEARS?!? No way. That’s too much poo for me.

So, thanks, but no thanks. If I ever feel like I want kids, I’ll adopt or do foster care or something. But I doubt I’ll ever even do that because I really don’t feel that urge to want to become a mother. And I never want to be told I’m making a mistake, I haven’t met the right man… blah, blah, blah.

It’s almost as if my identity as a woman is tied to whether or not I have children or that my worth/value is whether or not I have children. But it’s not! So stop asking people why they don’t have children! It’s a personal choice and oftentimes it’s for a personal reason that just because you asked, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an answer. Deal with it.

Isolation vs Solitude

Solitude: the quality or state of being alone or remote from society; a lonely place (such as the desert)

Isolate: to set apart from others; to select from among others, especially to separate from another substance so as to obtain pure or in a free state; being alone; an individual socially withdrawn or removed from society

Solitude lets the enormity of our brainscape roam free. solitude allows our most sensitive feelings and memories and self-judgments to surface. Solitude frees us from what psychiatric science calls the spotlight effect: the tendency that we have in public to overestimate the attention others pay to our accomplishments, our errors, our appearance, and the words that come out of our mouths. Solitude unshackles us from the compulsion (for some, an addiction) to curate and display our lives on social media, thus allowing our interactions with ourselves, others, and the natural world to be entirely what they are in themselves, not superimposed upon an artificial narrative for which we seek validation and approval. Solitude allows our brains to form interconnected neural root strands beyond those we typically utilize.

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

My whole life I have always preferred solitude. Maybe that was part of my mental health issues, but even so. When I was growing up, I don’t remember ever having people spend the night at my house. I don’t remember going to anyone’s house to spend the night. My birthday is in the middle of summer so I never had friends from school for my birthday party. It never bothered me either. I didn’t mind it. My birthday is two days after my sister’s so for many years we shared parties. For even more years we were always with family. (I know that sounds pathetic probably, but at the time I really didn’t mind or feel bad about it.)

It is important to distinguish between positive solitude and unwanted isolation. To be beneficial, solitude must be willingly chosen, and there has to be an out-the option of returning to societal life if needed or wanted. The effects of chronic social isolation are grim, including a 26 percent higher mortality rate for people isolated from human company due to life circumstances than those who live with a modicum of human company

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

The thing is, I was okay with solitude. But now after so much solitude, it’s turned into isolation. During the pandemic, it’s been nice for me because I’m lucky in my situation. I don’t have to go to work. I did online schooling. I still live with my parents so I don’t worry about groceries. I know I’m lucky. I know I am, but it didn’t turn out so well for me because I never had to go out, so now my anxiety is worse. It’s a struggle for me to go outside. That is not good for someone who wants to move away for graduate school for my masters. I have to be able to get out and go places. I know that I’m an introvert though, so even as I force myself to go out, I have to remember to give myself permission and space to be in a positive, healthy solitude.

Honey and Hiking

The other day I went hiking with just my dad through the state park that’s near our house. It’s usually a nice hike (if you have bug spray), but this time we didn’t have bug spray. It also happened to be the worst time of the year for these biting flies. It was horrible.

There’s my snuggle-buddy Cammie looking out over Beaver Pond.

Despite the bugs attacking constantly, it was a nice hike. It was very hot and very sunny. But a little easier to bear in the shade of the trees.

My dad was working (from home because of COVID) and he was getting work calls and I know he had a lot of work to do. I didn’t realize this until we had already left the house and entered the park. He really didn’t have the time to go on a morning hike with me. But he’s been trying to encourage me to go out more and I’ve been trying to get out more. Thanks to my PTSD and anxiety of various causes, I’ve developed agoraphobia – which is enabled by the pandemic and avoiding going out for health reasons. So the whole reason he went was because I asked the night before, not knowing how much was actually on his plate. I have really great parents. I know I’m lucky. I also know that I don’t deserve them and I don’t appreciate them as much as I should.

On the way out, we bought some local honey that the park sells. And that honey, by the way, is delicious. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever had honey that tastes so good and fresh. If you can buy local honey, you really should. It might be more expensive than the honey in the grocery store, but it’s better tasting, supports your local community, and helps support the local bees (which, as we know, are dying out). So buying local is best! Buy local! Buy small! And go on a hike!

It’s Finals Week!

This week is finals week for me for this semester. I also have a research paper due. It’s a little stressful to say the least. And when I get stressed out, I try not to think about whatever it is that’s stressing me out. Which means I procrastinate and just make things worse for myself. I know this, and yet I can’t seem to change it. It is what it is.

The class I’m taking is called “Family Violence.” It’s actually really depressing sort of. All the statistics on child abuse and the international abuse of women. It’s disturbing and makes me really question this world that we live in. I know that it’s a “fallen” world, but I mean seriously… So much is wrong with it. It makes it hard for me to think about, like my nephews growing up in this world. What will it be like for them? Not to mention the climate issues and all the trash in the ocean and all those other things! It makes me think I don’t want to bring a child into this world. But then, at the same time, like, the world can only get better with better people in it, right? So raise your kid up right and eventually things get better. I don’t know. I’m rambling, but that’s what I think about.

This class also makes me wonder about people I knew growing up and people I know now. How many of them have been exposed to some kind of violence in the home? It makes me wonder about those people who drive right on your tail and honk the horn or are consistently rude, cut you off while you’re driving… Is there something happening in their life? Is there an emergency? This class just makes me wonder about the people I see around and what their life is like.

But anyway, hopefully I will pass the final. Hopefully I’ll do well on my research paper that I’m procrastinating on. Eventually I’ll get it done. I was ahead of schedule and now I’m right on time, no more room for waiting. Yet, as I write this, I’m procrastinating again. Tomorrow morning, someone is coming bright and early to check our air conditioner or something. Which means that they have to get into the attic. Which is through my closet. Which means that I’ll have to be up bright and early too. Also, there’s the termite inspection tomorrow, when they go through your entire house and look at every nook and cranny. It’s… anxiety producing to say the least. But maybe tomorrow I’ll just try and focus on my paper and that will keep the anxiety down if I’m focused on my work. That sounds like a good plan to me. Now, hopefully, I’ll be able to stick to it. But the way I’ve been sleeping lately, I seriously doubt that. I haven’t been sleeping well and I’ve been sleeping later and later. Thank you PTSD and flashbacks in the middle of the night that wake me up and keep me awake. And even when I sleep I’m too tense to let myself fully relax. It’s exhausting to say the least.

But enough of my complaining…

tl;dr: It’s finals week and I am stressed and procrastinating and not sleeping well, PTSD.

Another Beginning…

…this one less pleasant.

It’s the start of a new semester. This time I’m taking Abnormal Psychology so it’s something I’ll definitely be interested in. I was interested in ASL too, but the work of it made it less interesting to me if that makes sense. Abnormal psych though is a part of my life so learning more about it shouldn’t be too much of a hardship.

I went online and looked at the ratings of my professor. I’m not so sure it was a good idea. It’s got me super nervous. You know it said all the worst things, lots of work, tests every week, professor doesn’t answer emails (and being an online school that’s definitely a big issue), etc. It’s just got me concerned and I’m trying not to think about it. But it’s hard.

How have you coped with a difficult professor? (If she’s anything like her reviews, I’ll definitely be giving a detailed end of semester survey!)

Coronavirus!

So schools were just announced to be shut down in Alabama recently. I thought maybe I should say a little something about it. I’m not all that concerned at the moment about it. Because I will be washing my hands all the time and thanks to my agoraphobia, I won’t be exposed to it too often. I’ve got lots of groceries so I don’t need to go out for a while. I could probably stay here for two weeks if I needed to. But don’t worry, I wasn’t one of those people who stockpiled toilet paper and fought to buy the last of everything. I did not go overboard about it. Partly because I’m younger and healthier than the older people who are more at risk of having serious problems if they get it (like dying). I left groceries for other people.

Why?

BECAUSE EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ABLE TO STAY CLEAN AND HEALTHY SO THE VIRUS DOESN’T SPREAD!!!!

People seem to have forgotten that little nugget of truth. It’s not all just so you won’t get sick, it’s also so that others don’t spread it. Remember that. Clean everything you touch. Avoid touching your face as much as possible. Wash your hands ALL the time with soap and water because soap is actually more effective than the Clorox hand wipes and hand sanitizer.

(That’s a link to where I learned that information.)

So y’all stay safe! Stay clean! Remember others out there and take care of each other!!

Podcasts

Podcasts aren’t really my thing, but this one is different. This podcast gripped me from the very beginning and held on tight. If you haven’t heard of it, you should really give it a shot. Make sure to choose a full episode, not the mini-sode.

A full episode is when each host brings a story and tells it. A mini-sode is when fans and listeners send in letters with their stories.

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

They don’t just discuss true crime. They also talk about mental health and how to stay safe. And they’re just hilarious people. They manage to take true crimes — scary, horrible stories — and lighten them up making it very entertaining without being so morbid. I don’t think I’m doing it justice, but if you’re at all interested in true crime you’ve got to try them out! They’ve got a website, fan cult, and a book.

They’ve got cats, hilarious stories of their lives, and a great sign-off…

Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered! SSDGM!

APA Paper – Veterans and PTSD

I’m in an Orientation class and they’re teaching us how to write an APA style paper. Coming from an English major to Psychology major means switching from my well-known MLA style to the foreign APA style. Anyway, so I’m learning that. We get to choose our own topic. I chose veterans’ suicide rates and PTSD.

I’ve done lots of research and reading statistics and government produced documents. The point is… the state of the government and public’s relationship with veterans is pretty bad. The suicide rates and extremely high and getting higher. The ages of those committing suicide are getting younger and younger. And it seems like there’s a lot of talk and everyone agrees that something should be done and veterans should be taken care of, and yet nothing is actually being done. Not enough anyway.

It’s time for the public to stand up and demand better treatment for our vets, better facilities for them, and better education and training of the people working in these facilities. They need a bigger budget to accommodate this.

I’m ranting, but something should be done. Vets should be a much higher priority than they are now. They shouldn’t be homeless. They shouldn’t have trouble finding jobs. They should be able to get help from educated people dedicated towards their mental health. There should also be some kind of education, training, preparation for families of vets coming home with PTSD or any other mental illness.

Okay, I’m done now. But come on… America, the greatest country in the world but if you look at the state of veterans, we’re pretty low. Not enough people are speaking out about it. Certainly, not enough people are doing anything about it.

Done now. For real. But seriously… like if you agree.

It’s Mardi Gras Y’all!

Today is Fat Tuesday, in case you didn’t know. Talk to anyone from Mobile and they’ll tell you that Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama. Most people hear Mardi Gras and think New Orleans, Louisiana. Let me clear this up for anyone who’s confused. Mardi Gras started in Mobile, Alabama. The “father” of Mardi Gras, is Joe Cain.

Joe Cain came to Mobile and dressed up and partied through the streets on Fat Tuesday. In Mobile, we have a celebration before Fat Tuesday. There’s Lundi Gras, which is the Monday before Fat Tuesday. Then there’s Joe Cain Day, which is that Sunday (this previous one). Joe Cain Day in Mobile is celebrated with the Merry Widows, all Joe Cain’s wives. They fight over who he loved more. It’s very family friendly, but it’s also just a lot of fun.

My anxiety allowed me to go out one year, a while ago. But I remember it very clearly. It really was fun. There weren’t any elbows being thrown, no fights for beads or moon pies, none of that.

This guy is dressed as Joe Cain, dressed as Slacabamorinico. (the center guy)

It’s a lot of fun. And remember, Mardi Gras started in Mobile, not New Orleans. Tell your friends!