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underwater and can't seem to reach the surface

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cinnamongurl posted 5/12/2014 22:43 PM

I'm just hurting so badly lately. I can't seem to get my head back above water. I feel like I'm drowning. After so many years in IC and digging through so so much unresolved pain from my past, I'm just feeling exhausted. I look to the future, and all I see is more IC, more digging, more pain, and I just don't know if I'm strong enough to keep at this indefinitely. Some days I can't even breathe. It takes everything I have, most days, just to get up, get dressed and go to work. I'm so overwhelmed. Part of me wants to take a break, but the idea of that terrifies me! I'm not sure where to go from here. I don't know what steps to take next. I don't know if backing off the digging for a while would be beneficial or if it's equivalent to stuffing and rugsweeping.

I'm so afraid of going to those old coping skills, it's giving me anxiety attacks and chest pain. I don't think I will, but I just don't feel like I can trust myself. I try to journal it, which has been infinitely helpful in the past, but even the thought of it makes my heart race and I break out in sweats. When I'm in my ic appointment, I feel like we work through this, but then, just 24 hrs later I'm back to the depression and panic attacks until the next week.

Antidepressants are out of the question, as they bring on hypomania, and I do have some ativan I can take when it gets really bad, but I'm uncomfortable taking it as frequently as the attacks come. I do take a mood stabelizer, and it has been increased a bit as the symptoms have started to progress, it's just not enough.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to work through this. I really can't live this way! It's wreaking hell on my mind and body. I'll be scheduling an appointment tomorrow with my med doc, and I have an IC coming up, I just don't know how to get through until then. It could be up to a week to see med doc, and then it takes some time to adjust to new meds/dosages. I'm just at a loss here.

tired girl posted 5/13/2014 00:34 AM

Have you discussed the idea of you taking a small break with your IC?

Also, it's the idea that you will fall back into old habits and coping skills that gives you anxiety attacks?

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 00:49 AM

Have you discussed the idea of you taking a small break with your IC?
I have, but I'm thinking of asking her if we can reassess my goals for therapy instead. I think I need a break from the intensity of the feelings it's bringing back. I don't think I have the skills to "go there" yet. I think that bringing the focus back to developing healthier ways to deal with the stressors and triggers and flashbacks as they come up rather than revisiting the actual events that ultimately cause the reactions in the first place would be a lot more helpful.

[This message edited by cinnamongurl at 12:50 AM, May 13th (Tuesday)]

tired girl posted 5/13/2014 00:53 AM

Have you ever looked into doing EMDR for some of these more painful things?

It is something that I have started and it is helping me with some of the things that cause me anxiety.

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 01:04 AM

Also, it's the idea that you will fall back into old habits and coping skills that gives you anxiety attacks?
yes! Very much so. I never want to go back to the days of sunshine and roses... those days were nothing but lies. To myself and others. By not facing my past, I learned to effectively compartmentalize my entire life. I was such a callous person. I never want to go back there, and I fear by stepping away from the digging, I'm somehow burying it again.

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 01:06 AM

I've heard of EMDR. It's pretty effective in treating ptsd, Right? I think it is definitely something worth exploring, what I'm doing now is no longer working for me.

[This message edited by cinnamongurl at 1:06 AM, May 13th (Tuesday)]

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 01:08 AM

Thank you tg for responding to my post! It really helps me get out of my head to have some feedback.

tired girl posted 5/13/2014 01:12 AM

Of course

Do you really think that you would go back to that person after all that you have learned?

Also, something my IC tells me a lot, try not to live in the future. Live in today. It lessens the anxiety.

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 01:19 AM

I meant I never want to go back to that place in time when I was so numb, I just didn't care. I initiated the conversation about digging through the past with ic, and for a while I felt like I was making real progress, but right now I think it's time to refocus our work. She really is very good, I just overestimated the amount of revisiting the past I can handle. I'll ask her about EMDR when I see her next. I don't think it's something she does, but I'm sure she can refer me to someone who can.

Something my IC tells me a lot, try not to live in the future. Live in today. It lessens the anxiety
mine says the same thing! seems some sage advice.

[This message edited by cinnamongurl at 1:26 AM, May 13th (Tuesday)]

tired girl posted 5/13/2014 01:37 AM

Over the past four years since I started this process I have taken a few short breaks, I have had to change IC's. Sometimes a short break is ok, and sometimes just refocusing is where you need to go.

I don't think you need to worry about going backwards. You have come to far to do that.

EMDR has really helped me, I hope you are able to find someone that can do it with you and that it helps.

cinnamongurl posted 5/13/2014 01:44 AM

Thanks tg. It feels good to have a plan. I can breathe a little easier now. Nighttime is when the anxiety gets the best of me, and spins out of control. You've helped me break the cycle.

tired girl posted 5/13/2014 01:51 AM

Your welcome Anxiety sucks!

plainsong posted 5/13/2014 11:12 AM

It sounds like you have good insight into your process, and are thinking of good options. There is a balance between processing past pain and strengthening your coping in the present. This applies to both regular talk therapy and EMDR as well. To process trauma you need to activate the trauma memories or issues, but only to a manageable degree. If you get overwhelmed, you won't be able to process. If you choose to try EMDR, you might want to let the therapist know that you want to start with strengthening your positive resources and move slowly with focusing on past pain.

I know how the terror of going back to past coping mechanisms and numbness. I often feel the same way (though not as much as I used to), but I trust my IC to track that and let me know if I am shutting down again. It is a common topic in our sessions, and she also says to focus on the present and not think about "what if's". You know you are committed to healing, and you can trust yourself.

For right now, do all the self care things you can, even if it feels like they won't work - rest, exercise, healthy eating, nature, music - whatever has worked for you in the past. Since writing has worked, you might want to try that again. What I have found most useful is writing out a dialog. It can be between parts of yourself - your discouraged part and the part that knows how far you have come, or your panicked part and the part that trusts your perseverance. You can also write out a dialog between you and your inner wisdom, core self, etc., or, if you have any religious or spiritual beliefs, with a Higher Power, God, Universe, Divine Source, etc. You are doing a good job. Be gentle with yourself and just keep moving forward on your path.

knightsbff posted 5/14/2014 10:03 AM


I can relate to the anxiety and feelings of hopelessness. One thing that has helped me A LOT has been mindfulness. Part of mindfulness is staying in the moment.

I'm going to PM you a couple of apps that help with mindfulness practice. They remind me on a schedule I set to do a quick mindfulness check (sort of a instant thought exercise). You will be surprised how much this can help.

cinnamongurl posted 5/14/2014 19:50 PM

Hey all. Thank you for your all of your support and suggestions. Yesterday was a really difficult day, and today I'm completely wiped both physically and emotionally. I'll return with an update when I'm feeling a little stronger. We made some big decisions in IC and I'd like to share them when I'm feeling a little better. Again, thanks!

cinnamongurl posted 6/3/2014 22:04 PM

Hey guys . I'm back with an update. In the above mentioned IC appointment, I broke down. Cried and shook for most of the session. We went well over our allotted time, but I was the last appointment of the day, so she kept me there until she felt I was safe to leave.

We discussed EMDR and med changes, and in the end decided to take a different path. We've stepped back from recounting my traumas and into thing more immediate and present in my life. I expressed to her my concern about this becoming rugsweeping, but she assured me she would never guide me down that path of destruction! She said in due time we can always revisit the traumas, but at this point, I was so overwhelmed by it that it was becoming counterproductive to my healing. Makes perfect sense!

First off is self soothing and learning to work my way through the panic. Of course that begins with journaling and learning to express these feelings as they arise instead of trying to push them away pretending they don't exist, until my heart and head both feel like they will explode! She suggested fresh air, exercise, and a hobby. (I spent most of the winter, jan-may, in a surgical boot with a badly broken toe and this became my excuse for not exercising and feeling bad for myself, and allowing myself to slip on down the rabbit hole into the darkness) Now that I'm mostly healed and the weather is getting beautiful, I've started spending a lot of blissful afternoons out in my garden getting in my exercise, fresh air, AND my hobby.

We've decided to meet less often so I can practice what I learn from her. This idea scared the crap out of me, but the reason for that is what leads me into my next point... We've begun to delve into my codependency. Wow! I knew it was there, but... just wow! I don't even know where to start with that one, but it's #1 on our list when next we meet. (We cut back from every week to biweekly)

So there's my update. I'm back on the path to healing, and just learning along the way that bumps and setbacks are going to happen, and not to fret so much about the unknown, but to learn to take each bump as it comes, and look at it, work through it, learn from it and just keep plugging along.

Wayflost posted 6/4/2014 12:17 PM

That's fantastic news! How wonderful to have an IC who is totally on board with you.

knightsbff posted 6/5/2014 09:30 AM

This is good to hear CG! Thanks for the update.

Joanh posted 6/5/2014 11:40 AM

CG I hear you,

The Ic can be so helpful, and yet I too think I am dependent on it. Its my release its my place to be free to say what needs and to explore without being judged.

I to am going through separation from my IC, she has not to call unless I need her cause she says I got it, now Ihave to live it. However I too have the anxiety , night sweats, heart palpitations etc. not as bad but still there. The difference today compared to before Dday, I know why! And each time you have walked away from Ic session you have gotten stronger. and yes toomuch of anything is never good. Moderation is the key word.

t/j mindfulness is something I have seeing more about , I would love to know more. Thanks

Keep going you are doing great, and too like you the idea of drugs, they do strange things to me and we have so much addictions in my family I am terrified to try.

Keep posting and doing what your doing. your doing great.

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