Tag Archive | Frustration

Where do we go from here

What if you can’t get there from here? What if you can’t go back, those roads are gone? What if you look ahead and see the same familiar roadblocks?

I lost hope that hubby will ever be a strong yet gentle supportive being I need. We try to be kind to each other but it is not working. The hurts run deep. Each unable to forgive and trust. Each day only hurts worse. The tension makes me sick as I try to smooth things over, do what he needs, explain again why I can’t, try to avoid him and this horrid sense of obligation and burden. I feel obligated to be affectionate. He keeps telling me how much it hurts him that I can’t. He keeps telling me how he can’t stand to hear all my negativity. He keeps saying he is confused, and frustrated.

I feel like a burden. I can’t be what he wants and it seems no matter how much I explain I cannot get him to understand ptsd and what this therapy is digging up.

I tell him I can only sleep for about 15 min at a time, then I wake up in a panic. If I am lucky those minutes are nightmare free. I am usually not lucky. No, my brain is creating new gruesome images to torture me, things that would make Dexter queasy. 

I tell him I barely manage to shower once per week.

I tell him most days I don’t eat food, only coffee or ice cream.

I tell him I have daily flashbacks transporting me to various childhood memories unexpectedly.

He knows all of this, and yet he is confused when I struggle to respond quickly when he invites me out to lunch. I say I don’t know, because it is the truth. I don’t know if my prison of a brain will let me out today. 

And he is frustrated when I dare to give him conditions for this lunch, like that place is too noisy, that one is too smelly. Yes it is frustrating for me too. No I am not being manipulative as you said to me today.

I think if you could, you would understand by now. So I think you can’t. I think you lack the empathy. I know you care about me, but it isn’t enough. You need to be nice to me too. You need to accept me as I am.

I know my behavior is odd. Ptsd is winning right now. But it isn’t like you are clueless. You know my stories. And yet you remain confused.

The sad truth is I feel much better when you aren’t near me. Without you my anxiety is not crippling or devastating. Without you I can make decisions without being badgered. Without you I feel less guilt, more valuable, less fear, more happinesss.

Things can change. Maybe they will. But you were given tools, ABC sheets and homework from the counselor. You never did them. I can’t ask you to change, I can only work on myself. But one day I will be back on my feet, a completely changed woman. If you don’t learn, grown and change too, I fear the distance between us will be irreparable. It is your choice to stay stuck. I want out of this mess.

Advertisements

Listen to me

Listen to me

Hear my words, feel my thoughts

Before you react

Can’t you see what you do to me

Silence my words, invalidate my thoughts

Because you

Are more important

Your needs matter

And I don’t

I am not what you say I am

I am starting to know me

Too bad you don’t or won’t

Losing hope

Because you don’t even know

How to listen

Faces of dysfunction at work – Yeah I know you

My work ‘family’ is so absurdly dysfunctional that each day I laugh (cry, scream, laugh all wrapped in one) out loud as I bang my head on the wall.

No one can hide their neuroses or psychoses from me, no sirree, I am an expert at such things.

You over there, the one that thinks you know everything but can’t keep one single fact straight, yeah I know you.

You over there, the one that is so power hungry and ego driven that you will do anything to make others think you are in charge, anything to get more control, anything to hoard the knowledge for yourself, yeah I know you.

You over there, the poor victim, the one everyone is out to ‘get’ and nothing is ever actually your fault, yeah I know you.

You over there, the quiet little mouse, that goes every where silently and your only goal is to remain unheard, yeah I know you.

You over there, the one starting the with-hunts, the one pointing the fingers and raising alarm, inciting panic, yeah I know you.

You over there, all of you, wide-eyed prairie dogs popping up and chiming in all in a flutter when something stirs the nest, only to disappear again to sleep peacefully as soon as the dust settles, yeah I know you.

You over there, the golden child, the angel, the one that does nothing, or does nothing well, but is called out as the hero and saves the day, everyday, from the rest of the fools, yeah I know you.

You over there, with your lips permanently attached to a manager’s behind, only to be removed if a higher leveled manager is available, yeah I know you.

You over there, the devious pot stirrer, the status quo changer, the nothing’s ever right or good enough, the change for the sake of change because it feels like you’ve done something, yeah I know you.

I know all of you. I may have forgotten someone here, but I know you too. I know you make me tired, worn out, frazzled, stressed, bug-eyed, hair-pulling, head-banging, fist clenching, mind swirling at times. You do manage to surprise me, I’ll give you that. Your persistence, your ability to deny these traits in yourself and stay so true to form is almost applaudible because if we wrote about you in a novel –  your character would be called flat, one dimensional, predictable. What a performance, wow, take a bow.

I can’t believe I signed up for this circus. I thought I could juggle, but I also have to parry dodge and thrust to keep up here. I want out of the insanity, but I’m not done yet. I have more to learn here I think, and more time is needed to make this a stepping stone and not just a misstep.

I don’t belong here. I don’t WANT to belong here. It’s almost been an entire year for me at this new job. 1 whole year of ‘what the fuck?’ Some days the paycheck is the only thing that gets me to log on again. Some days, it is actually the disaster itself, like a train wreck, I am drawn to gaze at it and offer assistance, and as I dig I continually uncover more and more wreckage, each level more awe-inspiring in its complete and utter stupidity.

This is the place where plans have come to die. A hospice for logic. Once I saw two lonely little thoughts roaming about aimlessly, hopelessly lost. I have given them good homes in my folder labeled – ‘in queue – projects that will never happen and will instead have the life drained out of them while bleeding our budget and cause 3 people to be fired and/or quit’. Instead, we work on the projects labeled “let’s get 12 people to analyze something that isn’t actually a problem and have each person to give a different feeling about it instead of any actual data and lets rashly jump to conclusions make entire system and company wide decisions based on the fleeting whims”.

Yup.

I had a great day at work today.

Alphabet Soup in My Brain

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PTSD for me seems to cause symptoms seen in ADD and OCD. It seems my brain gets stuck, or gets scrambled, and is rarely just buzzing along nicely. I generally have too many thoughts, not all negative thoughts any more, constantly bumping into each other in the most rude way. See just as one thought gets started and I think, Ohh that would be interesting, then another thought carelessly interrupts and off I go in another direction.

Here’s an interesting article about PTSD and the brain:

http://www.brainexplorer.org/ptsd/ptsd_aetiology.shtml

Excerpt “Many parts of the brain are likely to be involved in PTSD.  However, in recent studies two structures in particular have been highlighted – the amygdala   and the hippocampus  . The amygdala receives inputs from the thalamus   and the cortex, and sends efferents to the brainstem  , hypothalamus   and striatum. It is possible that these circuits are important in responding to threatening information from the environment via the autonomic, neuroendocrine and motor systems. Preclinical studies indicate that amygdala circuits are involved in fear conditioning and extinction . . . The hippocampus receives inputs from and sends efferents to both amygdala and the cortex.  The hippocampus plays an important role in memory, and these circuits may be involved in mediating explicit memories of traumatic events and in mediating learned responses to a constellation of cues (“contextual fear conditioning”).  Furthermore, preclinical studies demonstrate death of hippocampal neurons and hippocampal shrinkage after exposure of animals to chronic stress.”

I score high enough on the ADD and OCD tests to be medicated, but have chosen to try behavior/thought modification first and continue on my med-free healing path, thinking the main issue is PTSD. I am coping fairly well, but often have this feeling of disorientation, like thoughts are not in the right order in my brain. I have too many related thoughts all flooding the gate at once and I have to work so hard to focus on one. And then I get stuck on it, but it feels so good to be stuck and focused, no more interruptions, except I actually can’t stop then and nothing becomes as important as my new focal point.

———————————————————————————————————————————-

Around noon I open the dishwasher, start unloading it. Then remember that unloading silverware is the 4 yr old’s job, so I call for him. He does not come immediately, so I see what he is up to, and break up a lego fight between brothers. Then I supervise while they make up, and put some legos away. Then I put some dirty laundry in to the hamper. Then I see my book and look at the clock and think I don’t have time to read now.

Then the kids are hungry, so I fix some lunch. I get annoyed that the dishwasher is open and close it to avoid bumping my ankle. As I clean up lunch plates, I see the sink is full, completely full and can not hold anything else. I open the dishwasher and take out a bowl. I can’t remember which shelf we put these on now. I open every cupboard and find similar bowls. I need to nest them to have enough room, and I find some christmas gift cards we tucked up there for safe keeping. I get online and check the balance.

Kid 2 sees me on the computer and asks if I’ll play a game with him. We play together a bit and then a text comes in, Hubby is leaving work and asking do I need anything from the store. I leave the game and look in the fridge and pantry and text back a shopping list. I get thirsty for something in the fridge and have to get a cup from the dishwasher, nothing clean on the shelf. I stack all the cups from the dishwasher together to put them away, but leave them on the counter when I hear my work email bing. Team member asking a question, needs a quick reply, but it doesn’t have a quick answer so I work on that. I get tired from the research and re-writing that email so many times to get my message across clearly. I feel tired and think of my bedroom, currently being re-painted, and think I should shop online for a new comforter. I spend over an hour going from site to site even though I will not be ordering online, because I can’t buy a fabric without touching it first – it has to be soft. I feel angry for wasting time, and then very very overwhelmingly tired. I think I must need coffee.

Stacks of cups are blocking the coffee pot, so I put them in the cupboard first. I can barely get water out of the faucet because the dishes are piled so high, so I open the dishwasher again. I’m feeling tired and restless now, and see the spatula and think it would be nice to make some cookies. That’d be a nice surprise for Hubby to come home to fresh warm cookies. But my counters are a mess, full of dirty dishes that don’t fit in the sink. I keep unloading dishwasher. And then hyper-focus on the kitchen. Nothing distracts me this time so I get stuck and clean feverishly for the next 2 hours.

I didn’t think to start any dinner though. I didn’t make any cookies. I didn’t get back to work yet. I get angry at myself for wasting a day. Somehow, it is 6pm, and all I did was clean the kitchen a bit, and I still have 6-8 hours of computer work. But wait – didn’t I work a bit? I remember some emails. I have to look up the times I sent replies to fill in my timesheet. I forgot to record my earlier work. Now I scan my memory, surely I worked in the morning too? Look at recent docs, internet history and figure out I actually worked quite a bit already but did not record any of it. Good news, but frustrating to try to accurately get paid that way.

———————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Enough of that. Just trying to illustrate how irritating it is to be me, to be so forgetful, so easily distracted. It makes it difficult to trust myself. And it is uncomfortable. I never did get a drink, or the coffee, and probably didn’t eat lunch. I lose time so easily and always need to redirect myself. It is exhausting, like monitoring a child, but it is me.

I have so many lists, charts, and calendars to keep me on schedule and not forgetting anything major. Just have to remember to look at them.

Think the “but” Don’t Say the “but”

http://www.positivelypositive.com/2012/11/12/how-to-help-your-child-and-you-make-friends-with-frustration/

This is an excellent post about frustration and tantrums. It validates something I posted previously about my own frustration watching my children explode into emotional helplessness. The thing I want to point out here, is that this article is written for any parent. I have to keep reminding myself that ANY and EVERY parent struggles with the tough stuff. We all get frustrated.

The reason that this is important, is that although I accept my long term PTSD, and that I may have strong triggers for my entire life – I am not THAT different. I am on the spectrum for experiencing MORE frustration, more emotional upset when my children show frustration or other strong emotions. Somehow knowing that everyone feels this way, to a lesser extent, and that I’m not completely out of range, well, that is calming to me.

I’m also going to point out that when my son goes to his place of frustration, he can’t be reached by my words any longer. I understand the technique in here, copied below, but I still have no tools to get my son down from a level 100 explosion. Other than time. Usually an hour. If you’ve ever heard your darling scream, moan, and whimper for an hour with no change, no return to center, no calming, no acceptance of help, no acknowledgement of you or anything else in the world – well, I’m sorry, and you know it is one of the most difficult feelings to handle in the world. I know how bad it feels to me, so it breaks my heart to think he is feeling so out of control inside of himself.

“Usually, if you convey to your child that you are bigger than his big feelings, the storm will pass in a few minutes. Stay present and as calm as you can (yep, that feels superhuman at times!) and acknowledge what he’s feeling without trying to assert your point of view or distract him. Try something like, “You really wish we could stay at the park all afternoon.” Then zip it! Avoid the temptation to add “but we really need to get home.” The “but” undoes all of the empathy you just offered. Once you’ve validated his emotions—which almost always has a calming effect even though it seems like you’re fueling the fire because you’re simply agreeing with his feelings—he’ll feel seen and heard and will start to relax. Once you feel that shift, you can gently nudge him toward the next steps, such as getting his coat and saying goodbye to playmates.”

I do however, completely agree with the “no but” rule. Adding “but” negates validations. This is true for adults or children. If you offer empathy or an apology, and follow it with a but, then the first half of that thought is erased. Hubby still “buts” us. Takes a ton of self control and inner awareness and calm to keep that but from being said. I know.

So, try to just think the but, don’t say the but.