I'm looking for the off switch, but it's like groping about in the dark.
I'm starting to have trouble sleeping again. I go to bed with BH, but I lie there for hours; I can't shut off my brain.
It's interesting, as this time, I have two counter inner-narratives going. While facing the tidal wave of truly fucked thinking patterns, I can now recognize more & more of them, look at them logically & break them down, specifically ID it as wayward thinking.
And I live in constant fear that that won't be enough. That as much as I want to be able to dive through the wave & come out on the other side that it's just going to overpower me, beat me along the shoreline & leave me broken in its wake.
I've taken the step of owning the thinking for what it is, breaking it down, all that. But what else do you do when your wayward thinking returns? Right now I really want a drink, and that is not the solution. But it's oh-so-tempting to get back to comfortably numb.
My best thinking brought me to SI.
I can now recognize more & more of them, look at them logically & break them down, specifically ID it as wayward thinking.
And I live in constant fear that that won't be enough.
And I live in constant fear that that won't be enough.
I understand. I told my IC that I actually talk myself through them. Like out loud and over and over again until it's OK. Like when we had a dry spell with sex, I said out loud "It's OK. It's not that BW doesn't love me. There are real reasons she's not in the mood, but that doesn't take away from all of the great things in our relationship." That kind of thing. The first five times I said it in the car on the way to work one morning didn't help. But the next five got me through it.
Unfortunately, I think I will do this kind of thing the rest of my life. It has gotten easier to see the bad thoughts earlier in their development. Much easier to stop them before they pick up momentum.
Finally, I am really motivated by how far down I was. I tell myself that giving in to the wayward thinking will lead to the place where I was miserable. It may be selfish, but it's not "I don't want to hurt BW again" although that is always there. My motivation is more "I don't want go end up there again."
Don't try to fix every thought that you are ever going to have. Don't try to eat the elephant in one bite. Work on the next thought when it comes. When you get through that one, the next one will be easier. Hang in there.
I Am Strong! I Am Beautiful! I Am Smart! I Am Worthy!
Second, don't you think that the fact that you recognize that you are having this thinking pattern is different than before, so it allows you to change it?
I don't know if it will help, but here's my recent bout with backsliding. It's been 3 months since I talked to AP. Just yesterday I saw something on the news and I wanted to send it to him. I thought "It would mean nothing! I'm completely over the A. Even H wouldn't mind if he saw a message about that". The wayward thinking in my head really believes all of those things to be true. What kept me from doing it was the thought of having to tell my IC that it happened. I know she has no agenda pro-H or pro-AP, but through our discussions I've seen how my relationship with AP did not bring me up, but rather pulled me down. I highly recommend that accountability copay.
So I identify my unhealthy thinking patterns as wayward thinking. The easiest ones to spot are ones like familyfirst mentions--a desire to break NC for "innocent" reasons, like to see how the job search is going now that he's finished his degree (he went back on the GI Bill). And those are the easiest ones to counter with "don't be a dumbass" responses from myself.
Others are less easy to spot since they have nothing to do with AP, but I'm familiar with the progression. Certain types of thinking can feed a broken spiral. I can feel myself shutting down, and like somethingremorse, I'm trying to talk myself out of doing it. Or, in some cases, it's a matter of talking myself into continuing positive things/behaviors anyway even when I have zero interest in doing it. Something like going to bed with BH is a good example...my instinct, my desire, right now is to stay up, listen to some music, zone out on the computer until 3am every night. Instead, I lie in bed for hours till I fall asleep. I'm not allowing myself the comforting behavior, as it's just opens the door to negative progression with or without AP involved.
I have not gotten back into IC yet. I should. That's become an unexpectedly hard thing to motivate myself to do.
BH mentioned at lunch that I seem down lately, mopey. There's no reason for it that I can account for (aside from a close relative's bout with stage 4 ovarian cancer & the first anniversary of dad's decline/death). He suggested I may need to restart zoloft. Or, at a minimum, I need to get back to the gym & get my metabolism back up (I agree 100% with that one).
I don't want to rely on drugs to get through life. I want to be able to do this on my own. But it may be time to try taking some Ativan at night to see if that takes the edge off, gets me back to sleeping right, & snaps me out of it. This is such an odd setback though as there's no new trigger, nothing happened. I'm just off.
I am really motivated by how far down I was. I tell myself that giving in to the wayward thinking will lead to the place where I was miserable. It may be selfish, but it's not "I don't want to hurt BW again" although that is always there. My motivation is more "I don't want go end up there again."
I would agree with the other comments. The fact that you are aware of your state of mind and proactively trying to change it means that you are not in the same place you were in the past. You should see this as a positive. But, I also agree that you should try to get back to IC if you can work it out.
BH mentioned at lunch that I seem down lately, mopey. There's no reason for it that I can account for
Maybe instead of "I can account for" it should read "There's no reason for it that I can tell my husband".
I think a big part of the problem is and always will be the fact that you have no real life accountability. No one that can look at you and what you are doing and tell you that it's bull shit. When there is little to no accountability for poor behavior, what is the motivation to change it? And how do you always know when that poor behavior is there? I mean after all, you have been able to fool yourself for all this time. How do you stay accountable when no one is even aware that there is a problem?
It's as if an alcoholic walked into an AA meeting and said I want to change but whatever you do don't talk about me being an alcoholic. It's off the table, don't discuss that. Well, that's just impossible. Every recovering alcoholic would call you out immediately.
Lies and deception will eat at you. It's great that you are aware of your wayward thinking now, but it doesn't get you very far unless you can be completely honest not just with your husband, but yourself as well.
a desire to break NC for "innocent" reasons, like to see how the job search is going now that he's finished his degree
Sounds like you could easily slide down a slippery slope. A slope you would most likely not venture near if you thought you had something to lose. If you were living with consequences and accountability.
I think that I need help to permit me to process events that would lead to wayward thinking. Before the ADs, it was hard to make myself not withdraw. Now I have the space to make that decision.
I'm at the opposite place as you WRT ADs. I have been on them for about 9 months. The combination of everything I am doing is working -- I mostly feel good. Now my doc wants to take me off them, to see what happens. I'm afraid to stop, fearing I'll backslide.
I hear you, WOEz, re: "Lies and deception will eat at you" and I understand your POV re: real-life accountability. Yesterday's episode was not triggered by not telling my BH about the A. I've quit hiding the A from myself. I allow myself to feel things in terms of it--guilt, remorse, shame, and so on. That is a huge step for me. It's not buried. I'm not ignoring it. I'm changing my behaviors & my thinking for me, for my M--not under threat, but because I want to. I'm accountable to me. That matters. If I really want to be here in this M, I need to prove that to me by my actions. And if I don't, then I need to get out of it.
When a depressive episode comes on with me, it's like white noise takes over my brain. Everything is clouded, and I can't hear anything, in terms of the thoughts swirling in my brain, to be able to cut through & figure it out. Yesterday's episode had to have a trigger--something more than what I was already dealing with--and I figured it out via this thread. I noted dad's death last year as a throwaway thing. It's not. I am anniversary triggered when it comes to significant losses in my life. Even now, 15+ years after my mom's death, I will get very down on Feb. 11, & owning the trigger helps me get out of it. One year ago yesterday, I was en route to Mexico to get my dad out of ICU & help med-evac him back to the states. On July 16, he'd deteriorated to the point where he shot himself to end his suffering. Once I realized that I was being taken down by those feelings, it helped lift the cloudiness. I felt better by yesterday evening, and I'm much more clear-headed today. And I'm thrilled that I was able to do break it without meds. Had I still felt like I was drowning, I'd have taken Ativan before bed.
It's vital that I keep my depression in check. Fortunately, I don't have A's in response to my depression. But as I found out, depression makes me susceptible to an A. It's why making active choices like going to bed instead of staying up are so important.
When I was depressed pre-A, I filled that time with bad TV or music & pointless political debates. One night, I happened into a late-night chat with an old friend one night, and it snowballed from there. The A served two purposes for me--with AP, I could drink, care about nothing, wallow in my broken, & he didn't care. It was enough. And with AP, especially in the early days, he brought back playfulness to my space. Our initial chatting (for at least six months) was just random jokes, lots of talk about nothing. That lightness helped my mood overall, unlocked buried feelings, allowed me to feel more in all aspects of my life, including with BH & my kids. It's why I went into such a destructive spiral when he shut down (his coping mechanism) & my safe outlet for getting past my own walls disappeared.
Now that I've used ADs to snap the depression & fix my brain, I've got the opportunity to break down my own walls brick by brick, and I'm doing that. I know I need to take it to the next level & see an IC. I'm not sure why that's such a hard choice for me to make. I think I have a fear that a real psych eval may label me as irreparably broken. I don't know. I'm getting there. Until then, I'm doing my damnedest not to lock away feelings, to sit with the discomfort, process it, own it. To take a hard look at my thoughts, recognize when they start shifting to what I consider wayward thinking, and reframe them with logic to keep me on track. It's a process. I'm working through it. One day at a time, one better choice at a time.
I know I need to take it to the next level & see an IC
Just do it! Make a list of your IC goals, hand it to them when you walk in the 1st time and then let the IC drive the bus. If nothing else it's extremely liberating to be 100% honest and not make pretenses for at least that 1 hour a week. Last week my IC labeled me as "very complex" This of course was not a compliment, but I now realize that when I bombard her with my crazy she eats it up. It's like she's been stuck working with people with minor problems and now she finally gets to put her training to the test with someone as "complex" as me. And her insights are fascinating. So many of them I never considered. Apparentely the more authentic I am in my relationships, the more at peace my brain will be and a side effect will be I can then finally sleep though the night. The best part is I think it's actually working!
Like I said, Just do it!
Once I realized that I was being taken down by those feelings, it helped lift the cloudiness. I felt better by yesterday evening, and I'm much more clear-headed today. And I'm thrilled that I was able to do break it without meds. Had I still felt like I was drowning, I'd have taken Ativan before bed.
You recognized the trigger to your mood and that's great.
Now that I've used ADs to snap the depression & fix my brain, I've got the opportunity to break down my own walls brick by brick, and I'm doing that.
Are the walls torn down enough that you shared this process with your BH? You said he noticed your funk. Did you sit down and talk to him about your feelings regarding your father's death? Did you share with him how it made you feel and how sad it continues to make you on the anniversary?
I agree that you should get into see an IC ASAP. Although I would bet that the fear isn't so much to do with being irreparably broken, but more so because you might be afraid to be truly honest with another human being face to face. That's scary. Not to mention the fact that your husband would probably want to know why you were seeing a psych and his curiosity might begin to peak.
I think I have a fear that a real psych eval may label me as irreparably broken.
Your fear is absolutely valid and understandable, I get it. Never, ever did I imagine I'd darken the doorstep of a shrink's office. Even though my whole life I'd identified as a high-functioning, (mostly) law-abiding sociopath, I knew I didn't experience normal human emotions, and I knew being molested as a little kid had probably fucked me up major. Yet still I never imagined I'd go to IC. I was *fine.* Until I wasn't.
Do you have any idea what kind of visceral relief I felt, when my shrink dx'd me with PTSD? Like, holy shit, I am actually not evil? I can be fixed? Learn to and and feel ?
Of course then I beat myself up for not starting 20 years sooner. But my IC, bless her, she says no, you started when you were ready.
Girlfriend. You're ready!
I will likely look into counseling more seriously once I return from visiting my stepmom in a couple of weeks. I should get that in place before she passes, and I am rather confident that'll be in the next few months.
It's, oddly, not a fear of talking face-to-face with another human being that stops me from moving forward. Talking here has been very good for me, and I know I would benefit from IC if I found a good one. I do think part of my resistance to starting with an IC is that I don't want BH to view me as broken. He's very bootstraps-oriented when it comes to mental issues, which is frustrating given how much mental illness runs in both his family & mine. It's mostly in the older generations, at least in the severe crazy kind of way. And now that I've found dad's adoptive family, I know that bipolar is in the line on my side as well, plus lots of alcoholism, which was likely just self-medicating depression. I don't want to be labeled something, ya know? Especially not something on the bipolar scale. I don't hallucinate, I function....I don't want to be told I have to live the rest of my life on meds. I know it's an irrational fear, and I'm working myself toward the goal of starting IC.
I'll likely bring it up with BH when I get back from the trip, especially if I'm still having swings like that in my thinking. At that point, it's worth the psych eval just to find out what is happening. FWIW, I'm the same way with any professional health care provider. My trusted doc left the state, and I've resisted setting an appointment with her replacement. I do not understand my mental block where this is concerned, but it exists nonetheless.
I think I have a fear that a real psych eval may label me as irreparably broken.
I understand this fear. It's real.
"Irreparably broken" is most likely not in play. In my last session, my IC said that in the beginning, she had her doubts about me. That I was in IC (and MC) as a life preserver, just trying to save my marriage. I don't think we accomplished much the first couple of months. It was still useful, because it got me into the habit of thinking about myself, and talking about it.
When we really started to get somewhere, it was hard. But I'd much rather be here, with some insight into myself, than where I was.
Just try to remember it's a process. At the beginning, I think both me and BW hoped we'd get that "a ha" moment. IME, that doesn't happen. Don't get discouraged if you don't get all teh answers right away.
For me, I was the one who helped other people through their stuff. Even when I knew I needed to start, I didn't. In fact, I was on ADs and feeling better chemically, but still didn't have the tools to set myself straight.
I will say that I do have some of the tools I need to set myself straight. My depression dragged on for years...it started as PPD, never lifted, got worse with DD #2, and then fed itself from there as my career (work from home) got even more isolating.
I had to change a variable to start fixing me, and for me, that started with chemically fixing my brain to nix the depression. The tendency is still there, no doubt, but I'm now keenly aware of the beginnings of it. With some, it's the anxious version kicking in (like when I get bad news re: a loved one & it's not a situation I can "fix"), and I know to take Ativan. This one was a bit different in intensity & type, but I proactively addressed it--I posted here to work it out vs. drinking, breaking NC with AP, etc. What's even more awesome is that I had those other urges, strong ones, and I still came here. I made that choice.
And I'm far less shut down emotionally. I spent Mother's Day weekend at a music fest. Mother's Day itself was rather tricky...all the random references to it kept triggering that lump in my throat, where all that sadness & grief bubbles up & you want to cry. But I didn't tamp it down. I sat with it. Let it be part of me. Thought about my mom, thought about my own experience as a mother, thought about what I'd put at risk, remembered how in the worst of it I wanted to disappear from my family--embraced the good, bad, & ugly of it all.
And then one of the bands performed this song that he wrote for his grandfather. The lyrics were mostly forced & trite ("I loved that old man, I wrote him this song"---oh so profound), but this one got me: "I watched Sid suffer, I saw Sid strong. Now tell me where do the great ones go when they're gone." And I cried. Ugly tears. Through the whole song. I don't cry. Ever. Emotions have always been verboten in my world. But I owned that grief, allowed it to flow over me, thought of my dad & mom & their suffering and death, thought of my stepmom's suffering with her cancer.
Through it all, I didn't take a drink. I let myself feel. I'm not longer OK with running to comfortably numb, and that is huge for me. Little victories are still little, but I'll take every one of them.
What I have to be careful about is not talking myself out of a need for IC. That is a real risk. But intellectually, I know I need it, know I'd benefit from it. I've decided to label any "you depression is gone, you're behaving, all is good now" thinking as part of my wayward thinking...that way I have to address it with "yes, things are better, but you have a long, long way to go. SI gives you some insight, but you still need an outside POV that looks at all of your issues, cuts through the bullshit, teaches you how to come out whole on the other side."